Ambient Scribe: The Future of Healthcare Documentation
Sep 7th, 2023

Ambient Scribe: The Future of Healthcare Documentation

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Hamideh Alizadeh
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8 min read
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Have you ever wished you could have a personal assistant who could take care of all your documentation needs while you focus on your patients? If so, you might be interested in learning more about ambient scribe technology, a revolutionary solution that is transforming the way physicians document their patient encounters.

In this blog post, we will explain what an ambient scribe is, how it works, and what are the benefits of using one. We will also explore the different types of ambient scribes, how they integrate with electronic health records (EHRs), and how they can help address some of the common challenges and opportunities in healthcare today, such as physician burnout, patient engagement, and more.

By the end of this post, you will have a better understanding of ambient scribe technology and how it can help you improve your workflow, productivity, and satisfaction as a physician. You will also learn how to try an ambient scribe solution or learn more about it.

What is an Ambient Scribe?

What is an Ambient Scribe?
What is an Ambient Scribe?

An ambient scribe is a solution that utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) to capture and document the natural conversation between a physician and a patient during a visit. This technology can listen to the dialogue, understand the context and intent, extract the relevant information, and generate a structured and accurate note that can be reviewed and signed off by the physician.

This solution can also perform other tasks such as retrieving information from the EHR, ordering tests or prescriptions, scheduling appointments, or sending messages to other physicians or patients. It can be accessed through a mobile device, such as a smartphone or a tablet, or through a dedicated device that is placed in the exam room.

An ambient scribe differs from a traditional medical scribe, who is a human that accompanies the physician during the patient visit and manually documents the encounter in real-time. This technology does not require the presence of another person in the room, does not interfere with the natural flow of the conversation, and does not pose any privacy or safety risks.

How Does an Ambient Scribe Work?

An ambient scribe utilizes speech recognition, natural language processing, machine learning, and clinical knowledge to process the audio input from the physician-patient interaction. It can recognize multiple languages, accents, dialects, and speakers, as well as handle background noises, abbreviations, and medical jargon. This solution also employs contextual cues and semantic analysis to infer meaning and intent from the conversation.

Subsequently, the ambient scribe converts the audio input into text and organizes it into a structured note following the SOAP format (Subjective, Objective, Assessment, Plan). It can also populate relevant fields in the EHR based on the captured information. Additionally, the ambient scribe can execute queries or commands based on the physician's prompts.

Afterward, the ambient scribe presents the note to the physician for review and approval. The physician has the option to edit or modify the note before signing off. Finally, the note can be stored in the EHR or shared with other relevant parties.

What are the Benefits of Using an Ambient Scribe?

Using an ambient scribe can provide numerous benefits for healthcare physicians and patients. Some of these advantages include:

  • Streamlining documentation: By automating the documentation process, an ambient scribe reduces the burden on physicians, eliminating the need for dictation or typing. This frees up valuable time for physicians to focus on clinical care and other tasks.

  • Enhancing physician-patient interaction: An ambient scribe enables physicians to maintain eye contact and engage in natural conversation with patients, without the distraction of a computer screen or keyboard. This improves communication quality, patient satisfaction, and trust.

  • Supporting clinical decision-making: An ambient scribe supplies relevant information from the EHR or other sources at the point of care, assisting physicians in making informed decisions. This improves accuracy in diagnoses, treatment effectiveness, and patient outcomes.

  • Ensuring data quality and interoperability: By capturing and documenting data accurately, completely, and in compliance with standards and regulations, an ambient scribe enhances data quality and interoperability across various systems and platforms.

  • Mitigating physician burnout: Addressing one of the main causes of physician burnout, an ambient scribe alleviates the overload of documentation. By reducing documentation stress and workload, it promotes better physician well-being and performance.

Are There Different Types Of Ambient Scribes?

Here are some examples of different ambient scribes available in the market today:

  • Speke: Developed by ScribeAmerica, Speke is an ambient AI scribe that helps physicians shift away from the computer and back to the bedside. With AI-empowered documentation, supported by the nation’s leader in medical scribes, physicians can once again deliver personalized patient care. Speke utilizes speech-to-text and natural language processing to parse important information from natural conversations with patients. It is easily accessed on a mobile device, offering an easy-to-use, portable platform to seamlessly document patient encounters.

  • Tali: Developed by Tali AI, a Canadian company specializing in healthcare AI solutions, Tali is an AI-powered ambient scribe that helps reduce the time spent on documentation and administrative tasks. Tali’s Ambient Scribe can generate SOAP notes just from listening to the physician’s conversation with the patient. It uses generative AI to create a structured SOAP note from the recording, which can be of a conversation with a patient or a summary of the visit. Tali’s light integration with all EHRs requires no drawn-out installation process or training phase, and its core features can be used on any web-based or desktop EHR.

  • Nuance’s Dragon Ambient eXperience (DAX): It is an ambient clinical intelligence solution that automatically documents patient encounters accurately and efficiently at the point of care. It uses AI, machine learning, automatic speech recognition (ASR), natural language processing (NLP), and other innovative technologies to enhance patient-physician interactions. DAX captures a multi-party conversation ambiently, allowing clinicians to engage in natural conversation with patients and other family members while a dedicated mobile app securely captures the conversation at the point of care.

Can Ambient Scribes Help Address physician Burnout?

Physician burnout is a serious issue that affects many healthcare physicians today. Physician burnout is defined as a state of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced sense of personal accomplishment that results from chronic stress at work. Physician burnout can have negative consequences for physicians’ health, well-being, performance, and retention.

One of the major causes of physician burnout is documentation overload. Physicians spend a significant amount of time on documentation tasks that take away from their core clinical activities and patient care. According to a study by Annals of Internal Medicine, physicians spend about 49% of their time on EHR and desk work and only 27% of their time on direct clinical face time with patients.

Ambient scribe technology can help address physician burnout by reducing documentation burden and increasing face-to-face time with patients. 

How Much Does An Ambient Scribe Solution Cost?

Ambient scribe technology offers a favorable cost and return on investment (ROI) for physicians. Here are the key considerations for cost and ROI:

Cost factors:

  • Subscription fees: Ambient scribe solutions may charge a monthly or annual fee based on users, devices, or encounters.

  • Hardware costs: Some solutions may require dedicated devices that need to be purchased or leased.

  • Installation and maintenance costs: Certain solutions may require additional installation and ongoing maintenance services.

  • Training and support costs: Physicians may need to invest in training and support services for the implementation and use of ambient scribe technology.

ROI factors:

  • Time savings: Ambient scribe technology reduces documentation tasks, improving workflow efficiency and allowing more time for patient care or revenue-generating activities.

  • Quality improvement: Improved clinical decision-making, data accuracy, and interoperability enhance patient outcomes, satisfaction, and loyalty.

  • Risk reduction: Compliance with standards and regulations minimizes errors, breaches, and lawsuits, resulting in lower liability costs.

  • Employee retention: Ambient scribe technology reduces physician burnout, improving retention rates and reducing turnover costs.

Security and Compliance

Ambient scribe technology developers must be dedicated to prioritizing security and compliance to protect the data captured and transmitted. They must incorporate robust security measures such as encryption, authentication, authorization, auditing, backup, and recovery mechanisms to prevent unauthorized access, modification, or disclosure. Compliance is ensured by adhering to regulations like HIPAA, PIPEDA, PHIPA, PIPA, and GDPR, which govern data protection standards in different regions. These measures and compliance efforts work together to safeguard the privacy and integrity of patient data.

Language and Speech Recognition

Ambient scribe technology excels in language and speech recognition, addressing multiple challenges. Here are key aspects related to language and speech recognition:

  • Language recognition: Ambient scribe technology understands multiple languages spoken by physicians and patients. 

  • Abbreviation and medical jargon handling: Ambient scribe technology recognizes and expands common healthcare abbreviations, symbols, or terms (e.g., BP, CBC, COPD, MI) using AI models. Users can also spell out or provide explanations for uncommon or ambiguous abbreviations or jargon.

  • Accent and dialect handling: Ambient scribe technology accommodates accents and dialects through AI models that learn from diverse speech samples, accounting for variations in pronunciation, intonation, and vocabulary. Users can adjust accent or dialect settings and provide feedback to improve the ambient scribe's accuracy.

  • Background noise management: Ambient scribe technology addresses background noise by utilizing AI models that filter out or reduce interference from irrelevant sounds like music, traffic, or coughing. Users can optimize noise reduction by placing the ambient scribe device appropriately or employing noise-canceling microphones or headsets.

Ambient scribe technology's advanced AI algorithms, dataset learning, and customization options ensure high accuracy, adaptability, and flexibility in language and speech recognition.

Patient Consent and Engagement

Ambient scribe technology ensures patient consent and enhances patient engagement. Here are key aspects related to patient consent and engagement:

  • Patient consent handling: Ambient scribe technology users obtain patient consent by providing information about the purpose, benefits, risks, and alternatives of using the ambient scribe before the conversation. Patients may receive a written or verbal consent form explaining their rights and responsibilities regarding their personal health information. Patients can opt-out or withdraw consent at any time during or after the conversation.

  • Patient engagement improvement: Ambient scribe technology enhances patient engagement by facilitating communication, education, and empowerment between physicians and patients. Physicians can maintain eye contact and rapport with patients without being distracted by documentation tasks. Ambient scribes provide patients with relevant information about their condition, treatment options, or preventive measures. They empower patients to ask questions, express concerns, and provide feedback about their care.

Ambient scribe technology adheres to ethical and legal principles of informed consent and follows best practices to foster patient-centered care, ensuring patients are actively involved in their healthcare decisions and experiences.


In conclusion, ambient scribe technology is a revolutionary solution that is transforming the way physicians document their patient encounters. Ambient scribe technology uses artificial intelligence to capture and document the natural conversation between a physician and a patient during a clinical encounter. Ambient scribe technology can also perform other tasks such as retrieving information from the EHR, ordering tests or prescriptions, scheduling appointments, or sending messages to other physicians or patients.

Ambient scribe technology can offer many benefits for healthcare physicians and patients alike, such as reducing documentation burden, increasing face-to-face time with patients, enhancing clinical decision making, improving data quality and interoperability, and reducing physician burnout.

Ambient scribes can also address some of the common challenges and opportunities in healthcare today, such as different types of ambient scribes, integration with EHRs, cost and ROI, security and compliance, language and speech recognition, patient consent and engagement, telemedicine and future trends.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience the benefits of ambient scribe technology for yourself. Try Tali for free and experience how our AI Medical Dictation and Ambient Scribe can revolutionize your practice.

This post is published in good faith and for general information purpose only. Tali AI does not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information you find here is strictly at your own risk.

Tali AI is not receiving any compensation from these links or products mentioned, nor are we responsible for the content of any external websites linked to from this blog.

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