29 Medical Scribe Interview Questions (+ Sample Answers)

The interview arena is a critical junction where opportunity meets preparation, especially for those stepping into the meticulous role of a medical scribe. It’s a moment where every detail counts, and the right preparation can set the stage for success.

  • For Candidates, this guide is your roadmap to acing the medical scribe interview, illuminating the journey with strategic questions and model answers tailored to your advantage.
  • For Interviewers, we provide a lens to identify the potential star of your medical team, evaluating not just the technical aptitude but also the alignment with your organization’s ethos.
  • For Mentors and Coaches, consider this a toolkit for refining the narrative of those you guide, helping them to market their abilities effectively when the curtain rises.

Embark with us as we unveil a set of strategic interview questions and sample answers tailored to steer all participants—candidates, interviewers, and coaches—toward a successful outcome in the medical scribe interview process.

Table of Contents

Skill-Level Determiner Questions

1. Explain your understanding of the clinical workflow during a patient visit from check-in to check-out.

This question assesses the candidate’s grasp of the overall patient care process, which is vital for efficient documentation and support.

A good answer should include:

  • Clearly outline each step of the patient care process.
  • Mention your role in ensuring smooth transitions between each stage.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how accurate scribing affects patient care and provider efficiency.
Sample Answer: 

"My understanding is that the clinical workflow starts when a patient checks in and ends at check-out. 

During this time, my role as a medical scribe is to document the patient's visit accurately. This includes recording the medical history, vitals taken by nursing staff, provider's assessment and examination notes, prescribed treatments or medications, and follow-up care instructions.

I maintain a real-time record of the visit, ensuring the provider can focus on patient care."

2. Can you explain the importance of HIPAA and give an example of how you’ve maintained patient confidentiality in the past?

This question evaluates the candidate’s knowledge of privacy laws and commitment to maintaining the confidentiality of patient information.

A good answer should include:

  • Define HIPAA and discuss its significance in healthcare.
  • Speak to the importance of confidentiality and privacy in patient-provider relationships.
  • Provide a specific, action-oriented example that demonstrates how you’ve upheld privacy standards.
Sample Answer: 

"HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, sets the standard for protecting sensitive patient information. As a medical scribe, maintaining patient confidentiality is paramount to building trust and complying with legal and ethical standards. 

In my previous role, I ensured confidentiality by always logging off my workstation when not in use and by discussing sensitive information privately with providers, away from public areas."

3. How would you differentiate between similar-sounding medical terms, such as arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis?

This question tests the candidate’s attention to detail and knowledge of medical terminology, crucial for accurate medical documentation.

A good answer should include:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the specific terms mentioned.
  • Explain the process for managing unfamiliar or confusable terms.
  • Emphasize the importance of context in distinguishing between terms.
Sample Answer: 

"Although arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis sound similar, they refer to different conditions. Arteriosclerosis is the general hardening of the arteries, while atherosclerosis is a type of arteriosclerosis caused by plaque buildup. 

To avoid confusion, I pay close attention to context and clarify with the provider if necessary. If I encounter unfamiliar terms, I use medical dictionaries or online resources to ensure accurate documentation."

4. Can you walk us through your process of entering patient information into an EHR?

This question aims to understand the candidate’s process for data entry into an EHR system, which is necessary to determine their capability to manage electronic records accurately.

A good answer should include:

  • Discuss your systematic approach to data entry.
  • Highlight your attention to detail and double-checking for accuracy.
  • Mention any experience with specific EHR software.
Sample Answer: 

"When entering patient information into an EHR, I start by reviewing any existing records for updates. Then, I systematically enter new data, ensuring that I capture every detail from the provider's notes. 

Before finalizing the entry, I double-check the information for accuracy and completeness. I'm familiar with Epic and Cerner systems and always follow best practices to maintain data integrity."

5. Could you explain how you interpret abbreviations and acronyms that are not commonly used or could have multiple meanings?

This question determines the candidate’s ability to navigate the complexities of medical language and maintain clarity in documentation.

A good answer should include:

  • Discuss the use of context to interpret unfamiliar terms.
  • Mention the importance of confirming uncertain abbreviations with the provider.
  • Explain your approach to learning and remembering new terminology.
Sample Answer: 

"When I come across unfamiliar acronyms or abbreviations, I first consider the context to determine possible meanings. If it's still unclear, I don't hesitate to ask the provider for clarification to ensure accurate documentation. 

I also keep a personal glossary of terms and regularly update my knowledge to include less commonly used abbreviations, which helps me stay prepared for future occurrences."

Other Skill-Level Determiner Questions:

  • Describe your familiarity with common diagnostic tests and procedures, such as EKGs or blood work, and your role in documenting these.
  • Are you familiar with the ICD-10 coding system, and how do you stay current with coding updates?
  • How do you determine the correct codes for diagnoses and procedures?

Behavioral-Based Questions

1. Describe your strategy for staying focused and error-free when there are constant interruptions or disturbances during your scribing duties.

This question assesses the candidate’s ability to maintain high quality of work in a potentially distracting clinical environment.

A good answer should include:

  • Describe your organizational methods and prioritization techniques.
  • Explain how you manage distractions while keeping attention to detail.
  • Emphasize your ability to adapt to changing circumstances without losing focus.
Sample Answer (STAR Method): 

"When faced with interruptions, I ensure that I complete one task at a time and avoid multitasking, which can lead to errors. I maintain a checklist of my duties to stay organized and double-check entries for accuracy. If interrupted, I make a quick note of where I left off to ensure continuity. 

In one instance, amidst constant alarms and pages, I was able to accurately document a physician's patient encounter by focusing solely on the physician's dictation and ignoring extraneous noise. Afterwards, I verified my notes with the physician to ensure there were no discrepancies."

2. Tell us about a moment when you had to work closely with other healthcare staff members, such as nurses or technicians, to ensure cohesive patient documentation.

This question measures the candidate’s ability to collaborate with a team as effective communication and teamwork are critical in healthcare to ensure accurate and consistent patient records.

A good answer should include:

  • Highlight communication skills and how they contribute to team synergy.
  • Discuss the importance of mutual respect and understanding different roles.
  • Provide an instance showing successful coordination and resulting positive outcomes.
Sample Answer (STAR Method): 

"In one high-pressure situation, a patient's condition was rapidly changing, and multiple healthcare professionals were involved. I took initiative to liaise with nurses and technicians to gather all relevant information. 

We established a communication chain so I could receive updates in real-time, which I immediately documented. This teamwork ensured a cohesive and comprehensive patient record."

3. Share a time when you realized you made a mistake in a patient’s record. What steps did you take to correct it, and how did you handle the situation with your supervisor?

This question identifies the candidate’s capacity to manage their errors and communicate transparently.

A good answer should include:

  • Be honest about a real mistake and the learning experience it provided.
  • Outline the corrective actions taken and their immediate implementation.
  • Stress the importance of accountability and proactive communication with supervisors.
Sample Answer (STAR Method): 

"I once entered the wrong medication dosage in a patient's record. Upon realizing my error, I immediately informed my supervisor and collaborated with the healthcare team to correct the record. 

I apologized for the oversight and implemented a new personal protocol to triple-check dosages before entry. My supervisor appreciated my transparency and quick action to rectify the mistake."

4. Have you ever been in a situation where you disagreed with a diagnosis or treatment plan documented by a physician? How did you handle it?

This question gauges the candidate’s professional judgment and respect for the established medical hierarchy.

A good answer should include:

  • Indicate respect for the physician’s expertise while highlighting safeguarding patient care.
  • Communicate how you ensured that your concerns were presented professionally.
  • Offer an example that shows diplomatic problem-solving abilities.
Sample Answer (STAR Method):

"While scribing, I once noticed a treatment plan seemed incongruent with the listed diagnosis. First, I confirmed I had documented the information correctly. Next, I found an appropriate time to respectfully ask the physician for clarification to understand the rationale. 

It turned out to be an error, which the physician immediately corrected. My approach ensured the accuracy of the record without comprising the physician's authority."

5. Provide an example of when you had to handle a particularly sensitive or emotional situation involving a patient during documentation. How did you maintain professionalism and empathy?

This question seeks insight into the candidate’s emotional intelligence and the ability to balance compassion with professional detachment.

A good answer should include:

  • Describe your ability to balance empathy with professional boundaries.
  • Convey your support role in the healthcare team and its impact on patient care.
  • Reflect on a situation where remaining calm ensured accurate and sensitive documentation.
Sample Answer (STAR Method): 

"I recall documenting a case where a patient received a difficult diagnosis. The room was charged with emotion, and I felt for the patient and their family. I maintained a discreet presence, focusing on accurately capturing the consultation while remaining as unobtrusive as possible. 

Afterwards, I took a moment to compose myself before moving on. Being mindful of the patient’s experience while maintaining professionalism is a balance I strive to achieve in such moments."

Other Behavioral-Based Questions:

  • Share an experience in which you effectively managed your time during a shift that was busier than usual. How did you ensure that all critical tasks were completed?
  • Have you ever encountered an error or oversight made by a colleague in patient documentation? How did you address it?
  • Have you had to work on particularly long shifts or handle an excessive number of patients in one day? How did you stay focused and maintain performance throughout the shift?

Situational-Based Questions

1. Suppose a patient becomes agitated and begins to question your role in the exam room. How would you handle this situation to ensure the patient feels at ease and to maintain the workflow?

This question evaluates the candidate’s interpersonal skills, ability to de-escalate tense situations and understanding of the dynamics in the healthcare setting.

A good answer should include:

  • Demonstrate respect for patient confidentiality and privacy.
  • Show that you can calmly explain your role without disrupting the clinician’s work.
  • Highlight your communication skills and ability to work as part of a team.
Sample Answer:

"In a situation where a patient is agitated, my first step would be to remain calm and empathetic. I would briefly explain my role as a medical scribe, that I am there to assist the physician by documenting the visit so that the physician can focus entirely on their care. 

I would assure the patient that their privacy is of utmost importance to us. I would also look to the physician for cues on how they would like to address the situation to ensure a unified approach."

2. Imagine a patient’s family member is in the exam room, asking many questions and making it difficult to follow the physician’s explanations. How would you manage this situation while ensuring accurate documentation?

This question tests the candidate’s professionalism and accuracy in challenging circumstances.

A good answer should include:

  • Illustrate your focus on accuracy and attention to detail.
  • Indicate your ability to support the physician-patient relationship.
  • Discuss strategies for managing interruptions in a non-confrontational manner.
Sample Answer:

"Should a family member be asking many questions, I would continue to focus on accurately documenting the physician's responses while ensuring to capture all aspects of the consultation.

If discussions become overly disruptive, I would gently remind them that a thorough and uninterrupted consultation ensures the highest quality of care for the patient. Ultimately, I would also defer to the physician's lead in managing the situation."

3. Imagine that you are working with a physician who prefers shorthand notes, but you are required to fully transcribe these for the official record. How would you ensure that nothing is lost in translation?

This question determines the candidate’s attention to detail, comprehension skills, and adaptability to different physicians’ styles.

A good answer should include:

  • Emphasize your knowledge of medical terminology and shorthand.
  • Explain how you would clarify any uncertainties immediately.
  • Show that you are proactive about learning individual physician preferences.
Sample Answer:

"I know that clarity in documentation is critical, so I would familiarize myself with the physician's shorthand and preferences. Where shorthand is used, I would ensure I’ve accurately expanded the notes by asking for clarification when necessary. 

Furthermore, I'd take the initiative to speak with the physician regularly to deepen my understanding of their shorthand and preferences to ensure clear and precise transcription into the official record."

4. How would you handle scribing for a telemedicine appointment if you face audiovisual difficulties that impede your ability to capture the consultation details?

This question seeks to understand the candidate’s problem-solving skills in a remote setting and how they can ensure the integrity of the medical record when faced with technical issues.

A good answer should include:

  • Display your ability to remain calm and resourceful under pressure.
  • Show that you prioritize the completeness and accuracy of medical records.
  • Indicate how you would communicate and collaborate with physician and patient to resolve the issue.
Sample Answer:

"If audiovisual difficulties occurred, I would first ensure any fixable concerns on my end were addressed immediately. I'd communicate the issue to the physician and, if necessary, to the patient, suggesting a brief pause if needed to rectify the difficulties. 

Documentation is crucial, so I would use all available resources, including asking the physician for a recap or extra clarification after the patient's consult if some details were missed."

5. During a particularly busy day, you are informed that you will need to stay late to assist with documentation. How would you manage your energy levels and focus to maintain high-quality work for an extended shift?

The question aims to assess the candidate’s work ethic, stamina, and strategies for self-care to ensure productivity and accuracy are not compromised during long shifts.

A good answer should include:

  • Highlight effective time management and your ability to prioritize tasks.
  • Mention healthful practices to remain energized and accurate in documentation.
  • Discuss the importance of taking brief, scheduled breaks to maintain focus.
Sample Answer:

"Understanding the demanding nature of healthcare, I am prepared to stay late when needed. To manage my energy and focus, I would prioritize tasks, periodically taking short breaks to remain sharp. Staying hydrated, maintaining a balanced diet, and deep-breathing exercises during these breaks would help sustain my energy. 

Most importantly, I would stay aware of my own limitations and communicate with colleagues if an extra set of eyes on my work is needed to ensure quality is maintained."

Other Situational Questions:

  • When assigned to work with a healthcare provider who has a very fast-paced style, how would you ensure you can keep up with their workflow without sacrificing the quality of your documentation?
  • While scribing, a physician starts discussing a medical case in a language you are unfamiliar with. How would you ensure accurate documentation under these circumstances?
  • If you find yourself consistently ending shifts with incomplete documentation due to an increasingly high volume of patients, how would you address this with your supervisor?

Organizational Fit Questions

1. What do you see as the key factors in developing and maintaining successful working relationships with the healthcare providers you assist?

This question assesses the candidate’s interpersonal skills and their understanding of teamwork dynamics in a healthcare environment.

A good answer should include:

  • Emphasize communication, respect, and adaptability as foundational elements in building relationships.
  • Discuss the importance of understanding each provider’s preferences and working style.
  • Mention the role of continuous learning and feedback in fostering successful collaborations.
Sample Answer:

"I see effective communication, respect for providers’ expertise, and adaptability to their needs as central to building strong relationships in healthcare. I listen attentively, communicate clearly, and seek feedback to adapt and improve continuously."

2. How do you define success in your role as a Medical Scribe, and how do you measure it?

This question probes the candidate’s vision of excellence and their self-assessment capabilities.

A good answer should include:

  • Highlight the importance of precision and attention to detail in medical documentation.
  • Discuss the ability to efficiently balance speed with accuracy to facilitate patient flow.
  • Reflect on the significance of receiving positive feedback or recognition from healthcare providers as an indicator of success.
Sample Answer:

"Success for me is accurate, prompt documentation that aids patient care and supports providers. I judge my success by fewer errors, maintaining clinic pace, and positive feedback, which reflect my contribution to our clinic's efficiency."

3. What motivates you to perform at your best even when faced with repetitive or monotonous tasks?

This question is meant to explore the candidate’s intrinsic motivation and their strategies for maintaining productivity despite the sometimes-tedious aspects of being a Medical Scribe.

A good answer should include:

  • Discuss the personal satisfaction you get from knowing that your work contributes to patient care and supports healthcare providers.
  • Share how you set small, achievable goals to stay motivated and engaged throughout your shift.
  • Talk about how you create variety in your day to day work by seeking opportunities to learn and expand your skills.
Sample Answer:

"My drive stems from the crucial impact my role has on patient care and streamlining provider workload. By setting personal improvement goals and recognizing the uniqueness of each case, I stay motivated and perform consistently."

Other Organizational Fit Questions:

  • How do you see yourself contributing to our team dynamics as a Medical Scribe?
  • How do you ensure you are culturally sensitive and inclusive when working with a diverse patient population?
  • Can you provide an example of how you have contributed to a positive workplace culture in the past?

Job Interview Tips

  • Prior to the interview, make sure you have a solid understanding of what a Medical Scribe does and the specific duties required by the healthcare facility you’re interviewing with. Familiarize yourself with medical terminology and any electronic health record (EHR) systems they use.
  • Whether it’s past scribing, administrative work in healthcare, or any other relevant roles, be ready to discuss your experiences. Focus on situations where you demonstrated attention to detail, proficiency with medical software, and teamwork.
  • Share why you want to work in the medical field as a scribe. Perhaps discuss your career aspirations in healthcare – this shows your commitment to the industry and your understanding of how important the scribe’s role is.

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Brenda Calisaan is a psychology graduate who strongly desires to impact society positively. She aspires to spread awareness and knowledge about mental health, its importance, and its impact on individuals and society.

She also has a passion for working with children and hopes to dedicate her career to positively impacting their lives.

Outside of work, Brenda is an avid traveler and enjoys exploring new experiences. She is also a music enthusiast and loves to listen to a variety of genres. When she's not on the road or working, Brenda can often be found watching interesting YouTube videos, such as Ted-Ed content.