Joint Commission FAQ Addresses the Use of Unlicensed Scribes

July 18, 2012 | Strategic Insights for Health System


The Joint Commission neither endorses nor prohibits the use of unlicensed scribes to enter information into the electronic medical record at the direction of a physician or practitioner, according to an answer to a frequently asked question (FAQ) posted on the Joint Commission’s Standards FAQ Details website. The Joint Commission explains that scribes are used most frequently, but not exclusively, in emergency departments where they accompany a physician and record information into the medical record, with the goal of allowing the physician to spend more time with the patient while maintaining accurate documentation. If an organization chooses to allow the use of scribes, Joint Commission surveyors will expect to see compliance with all of the human resources, information management, leadership (contracted services standard), and rights and responsibilities of the individual standards, including using a job description that recognizes the unlicensed status and clearly defines the qualifications and extent of the responsibilities (HR.01.02.01, HR.01.02.05), providing orientation and training specific to the organization and role (HR.01.04.01, HR.01.05.03), and performing competency assessment and performance evaluations (HR.01.06.01, HR.01.07.01).

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