TEST A medical scribe is a non-clinical personal medical provider’s productivity catalyst who provides clinical documentation expertise under direct supervision and at the point of service. “Scribes,” as they are colloquially referred to, dialogue in-person with the provider throughout the patient encounter in order to complete the patient’s medical record completely and efficiently.

What defines the medical scribe specialty is the scribe’s ability to document efficiently regardless of the documentation system, either paper or electronic while under constant supervision from the medical provider. There are a burdensome amount of documentation requirements that must be entered into a myriad of documentation systems with complex processes being employed in hospitals nationwide. Within each hospital, there are additional frequent changes to what needs to get documented and how. There is so much constant change and mounting documentation responsibility levied on the medical provider that the traditional paradigm of the medical provider who performs his or her own unassisted documentation or dictates into a recorder has proven to be uneconomical, inefficient and unsustainable. To thousands of health professionals who have been chiding at the forced changes to their medical record documentation practices, the silver lining in acclimating to this struggle is scribes.

The medical scribe industry has exploded in growth under the regulatory requirements and changes affecting medical records. For instance, in 2008 there was only 1 medical scribe vendor at the American College of Emergency Physician’s annual conference and approximately 500 scribes nationally. This year, there are 8 vendors and approximately 6,000 scribes. With tremendous growth, comes a natural need to regulate performance. Today, we have the opportunity to do so. If we are to remain in control of our destiny as an industry, we have to establish minimal performance requirements and advocate for compliant practice of appropriate scribe use among medical providers, individual scribes and scribe vendors. If we do not act responsibly with this opportunity then the medical scribe industry will be contaminated by the unscrupulous practice of those who wish to call themselves scribes while engaging in unsupported behavior. By obtaining your scribe certification through the Medical Scribe Certification & Aptitude Test you are distinguishing your training and practice, ensuring that employment as a scribe continues for you and is available for future generations aspiring for a career in the health-related sciences. Certification matters.

The scribe-provider work relationship is a familiar experience to medical providers who were initiated as medical students who learned to work with interns, who likewise learned to work with residents, who likewise learned to work with attendings. There are 2 major differences however. Scribes are strictly non-clinical, documentation assistants, and the medical provider is not responsible for teaching the scribe medicine. Notwithstanding the differences, scribes learn a great deal of clinical medicine simply by witnessing and documenting the provider’s interaction with patients. For these reasons, being a scribe is the best job any pre-health major could have.

The Medical Scribe Certification and Aptitude Test (MSCAT) will test your command of medical terminology, procedures, disease presentation, treatment, pharmaceuticals, disposition planning, federal regulations, and basic computing skills. This study guide will ensure that you have the knowledge to pass the test. Excellent scribes however are not only smart, but they are compulsive with respect to documentation and a pleasure to work with. They have to be expert in how to navigate the electronic health record (EHR). They have to develop good habits so that thorough documentation is routine. And, they have to develop a professional mindset meaning they must arrive to work on time, well groomed, practice manners such as, “Hello”, “Please”, “Thank you.” Scribes are typically much younger than their medical providers, and showing respect, and being deferential, goes a long way towards an enjoyable work-relationship.

The American College of Medical Scribe Specialists support of the MSCAT is a pioneering and bold step in protecting the medical scribe industry. Your engagement in this process is vital to our growth as a non-profit organization that advocates for scribes. Please provide comments regarding your experience in using the MSCAT Study Guide, taking the MSCAT and in being a member of American College of Medical Scribe Specialists by emailing study-guide@ theacmss.org .


American College of Medical Scribe Specialists