Evaluation of the Use of Medical Scribes in VAMC Emergency Departments and Specialty Care Clinics

  • End date
    Sep 30, 2022
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    VA Boston Healthcare System
Updated on 11 April 2021


Background and study aims: Medical scribes are trained paraprofessionals that assist providers with documenting patient encounters. Prior evidence suggests that scribes may be effective in increasing provider productivity and satisfaction, and decreasing provider time spent on documentation without negatively affecting patient satisfaction. Section 507 of the MISSION Act of 2018 mandated a two-year pilot of medical scribes, which will begin in March 2020 in specialty clinics and emergency departments (EDs) of twelve VA Medical Centers (VAMCs) across the country. The aims of this study are to understand how the introduction of scribes and scribe training affect provider efficiency, patient and provider satisfaction, wait times, and daily patient volume in the VA context.

Who can participate? Urban and rural VAMCs willing to be assigned medical scribes for use in EDs or selected high wait time specialty clinics (cardiology, orthopedics).

What does the study involve? Four medical scribes will be assigned to each of the 12 VAMC sites randomized into treatment with the VA hiring half as new employees and contracting out for the remaining half. 30% of the scribes will be assigned to emergency departments and the other 70% will be assigned to specialty care. Remaining sites that expressed interest in the pilot but were not randomized treatment will be used as comparators. Provider productivity, patient volume, wait times, and patient satisfaction from the treated sites will be compared to baseline (pre-scribe) data as well as data from comparison sites.

What are the possible benefits and risks of participating? VAMCs where medical scribes are introduced may see gains in provider efficiency, reduced wait times, and increased patient satisfaction due to the shifting of administrative burdens associated with documenting patient encounters in electronic health records from providers to these trained professionals. The introduction of medical scribes could complicate patient encounters by making some patients and/or providers uncomfortable.

Where is the study run from? This study is being coordinated by the Partnered Evidence-based Policy Resource Center (PEPReC) at the VA Boston Healthcare System in collaboration with the VA Office of Veterans Access to Care (OVAC).

When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for? March 2020 to February 2022

Who is funding the study? U.S. Veterans Health Administration

Condition Medical Scribes
Treatment Scribes
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04154462
SponsorVA Boston Healthcare System
Last Modified on11 April 2021


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Expression of interest by VAMC

Exclusion Criteria

Lack of appropriate site capabilities
The VA Office of Veterans Access to Care developed a list of 32 interested
VAMCs based on email surveying, which were categorized based on location
(urban, rural), desired scribe deployment (ED, specialty care), and
underserved (based on high new patient specialty care wait times). 12 VAMCs
were then randomly selected for the treatment, accounting for the requirements
of the law, OVAC preferences, and site capabilities, with the remainder used
as comparison sites
Clear my responses

How to participate?

Step 1 Connect with a study center
What happens next?
  • You can expect the study team to contact you via email or phone in the next few days.
  • Sign up as volunteer to help accelerate the development of new treatments and to get notified about similar trials.

You are contacting

Investigator Avatar

Primary Contact



Additional screening procedures may be conducted by the study team before you can be confirmed eligible to participate.

Learn more

If you are confirmed eligible after full screening, you will be required to understand and sign the informed consent if you decide to enroll in the study. Once enrolled you may be asked to make scheduled visits over a period of time.

Learn more

Complete your scheduled study participation activities and then you are done. You may receive summary of study results if provided by the sponsor.

Learn more

Similar trials to consider


Not finding what you're looking for?

Every year hundreds of thousands of volunteers step forward to participate in research. Sign up as a volunteer and receive email notifications when clinical trials are posted in the medical category of interest to you.

Sign up as volunteer

user name

Added by • 



Reply by • Private

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur, adipisicing elit. Ipsa vel nobis alias. Quae eveniet velit voluptate quo doloribus maxime et dicta in sequi, corporis quod. Ea, dolor eius? Dolore, vel!

  The passcode will expire in None.

No annotations made yet

Add a private note
  • abc Select a piece of text from the left.
  • Add notes visible only to you.
  • Send it to people through a passcode protected link.
Add a private note