UCSF Health begins testing its first AI scribe service in-clinic

Stock image of robot reading a tablet

By Tanya Jansen. In health care, the need for accurate and efficient documentation is paramount. Traditionally, physicians have spent significant time and effort on manual documentation, taking away time that could be spent with patients. The UCSF Faculty Practice Office (FPO), in partnership with UCSF Medical Informatics and Health IT, is pleased to announce that UCSF Health has contracted with Ambience Healthcare, a $36.3M series A startup [1] with an AI scribe service that listens to a clinical visit and drafts clinical documentation in real time. With Ambience, physicians will be able to capture patient encounters without the use of traditional human scribes.  

Across extensive demo scenarios with UCSF Health, Ambience returned impressive draft notes quickly. Physicians will still need to carefully read and edit the draft note before signing, but the automated first draft should provide physicians with significant time savings.

This technology will be initially launched with a group of 100 physicians in ambulatory practice and in the pediatrics Emergency Departments in Oakland and Mission Bay.  According to FPO Administrative Director, Sarah Beck, who oversees the Scribe Program, “We are incredibly excited about the potential of Ambience Healthcare and wider AI utilization in the documentation space at UCSF. The landscape of scribes is changing drastically and quickly, and we are thrilled to be at the forefront of this revolution. We are working closely with the AI Governance Committee, Medical Informatics team, and others at UCSF to ensure we are rolling this technology out responsibly and successfully.”

Ambience is the first “ambient scribe” technology UCSF Health is trialing; the Faculty Practice and Health IT anticipate trialing other competing vendors in this space, and ultimately, scaling this technology much more widely if its real-world performance is what we hope.  

Tom Chi, MD, Professor and Associate Chair for Clinical Affairs in Urology and Ambulatory Executive Medical Director for Surgical Subspecialties, says “Scribes have had an incredibly positive impact on our doctors and patients at UCSF. Having a scribe allows doctors to focus their attention where it belongs during a visit – with the patient – and not have to stare at the screen and type the whole time during visits. In addition, documentation time is a big source of stress and burnout for physicians, and scribes have been an amazing resource for reducing that workload. It’s a win on so many fronts. Unfortunately, the limitations of many scribe services are that it’s hard to have enough human scribes to go around. Artificial intelligence as an enabling technology in this space is incredibly powerful. To partner with Ambience will enable us to increase the number of physicians who can get scribes and make scribes a more accessible resource. It’s great for our patients and great for our fabulous UCSF doctors.” 

Artificial intelligence as an enabling technology in this space is incredibly powerful.

Tom Chi, MD, Professor and Associate Chair for Clinical Affairs in Urology and Ambulatory Executive Medical Director for Surgical Subspecialties

AI scribing technology may prove to be a transformative solution for healthcare documentation. As this technology continues to evolve, it may have the potential to reshape the way healthcare professionals engage with patients and streamline the documentation process, ultimately improving the overall quality of care.


Tanya Jansen
Tanya Jansen
IT Communications Lead

How Ambience Healthcare works – the clinician journey

(1) Click to start a visit

Sits right on top of the clinician’s existing workflow and automatically ingests relevant data and context from the EMR to initialize the visit.

(2) Clinicians speak to patients as they normally would

Listens ambiently in the background, allowing clinicians to focus fully on the patient during the visit without having to multitask.

(3) AI-generated draft is ready for review and export within seconds

Automates structured field selections, button clicks, and free text entry into the EMR so that providers are freed from non-clinical busywork

About Ambience Healthcare


The most advanced, real-time AI technology on the market adopted by provider organizations across North America.

  1. Built for clinicians: Real-time documentation that fits seamlessly in workflow. Embeds into EMR workflows and generates notes within seconds, so your clinicians can close out charts immediately after each visit. Customizes to individual preferences to reflect each provider’s unique style and voice.
  2. Loved by clinical leadership: Accelerate your clinical initiative. Embed documentation best practices directly into the software. Roll out new care models, documentation changes, and coding & billing initiatives as simply as rolling out new software updates.

About UCSF Health



[1] Crunchbase, Ambience Healthcare