Written by: Center for Care Innovations

This case study was prepared by Kristene Cristobal of Cristobal Consulting, contracted evaluator for the Spreading Solutions That Work program.

When patients visit providers, the experience can be hampered by the use of the electronic health record, whether it’s difficult to use, time consuming, or hinders the clinical documentation process.

At the same time, primary care provider burnout is being driven by the demands of documentation, as clinicians spend extra hours each night writing notes instead of spending time with their families. The result in low satisfaction and high turnover.

Medical scribes are a promising way to help providers focus on their interactions with patients and increase joy in work. An estimated one in five practices with an electronic health record (EHR) currently use scribes.



La Clínica, a Federally Qualified Health Center located in the San Francisco Bay Area, has nineteen clinic sites and 140 providers. Like many community health centers, it struggles with a shrinking primary care workforce and an EHR that place a heavy clerical burden on providers, impacting productivity, patient access, and satisfaction.

To address challenges in delayed provider adoption of the EHR and other factors hampering computer use, La Clínica piloted two scribes working with ten providers. They targeted high-performing providers who were at risk for turnover.