An internet television program that explores the intersection of medicine and the law.

EMR Audit/Access Log and How Plaintiff's Counsel Can Exploit It at Trial

By Whitman Johnson to EMR/EHR


In this episode, Healthcare Matters interviews ALL MD attorney Whit Johnson on an EMR’s audit/access log, how plaintiff's counsel can exploit it and how a healthcare professional can avoid these specific pitfalls when using an electronic medical record.

Johnson is a shareholder at CURRIE, JOHNSON, GRIFFIN & MEYERS P.A. He practices law in Mississippi, specializing in trial work, with a focus on the defense of physicians, hospitals and other health care providers from claims of medical negligence. Johnson was recognized in 2011 as “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers in the field of medical malpractice law.

Johnson is a charter member of the Association of Liability Lawyers in Medical Defense (ALL MD), a nationwide organization that connects healthcare providers with attorneys who specialize in medical malpractice defense.

Question 3 of 5

Interview recorded June 30, 2015


Mike Matray: Hi I’m Mike Matray, your host of Healthcare Matters where the medical and legal communities come together to discuss health care matters. Today’s guest is Whit Johnson. Whit is a share holder with Currie Johnson Griffin & Myers in Jackson, Mississippi. Welcome to the program Whit.

Whit Johnson: Thanks, glad to be here.

Mike: An EMR as audit log and access log can be in an Achilles heel when defending a medical malpractice claim. Can you explain the audit access log to our viewer? How plaintiff’s counsel can exploit it and how a healthcare professional can avoid these specific pitfalls when using an electronic medical record?

Whit: Well first off, let me say I’m not sure you can ever avoid them. I suspect most of the doctors out there have children, and I suspect that most of those children are on social media, and I can guarantee you everyone of those doctors has sat down and told their child ” Do not post something on the internet that you don’t want everybody to see, and that you might be ashamed of 20 years later. Because once it’s on the internet, it’s there forever. ” Well let me tell you, once it’s on the computer, its there forever too. And it’s not only there, it’s there as to when it got there, it’s there as to what changes have been made, it is there as to who put it there. Every piece of information that has anything to do with that information is on the computer. That’s why they call it metadata, meta essentially meaning everything. It is information about information, and the only way to avoid the pitfalls is, gets back to the first question you asked about EMR and best practices. You’ve got to put your stuff in on time, and you’ve got to put it in accurate, because if you don’t, and you try to change it. The plaintiff’s lawyers will know who changed it, they’ll know when it was changed, and they’ll know what it was before you changed it. There was actually a study, I think it was out of Kansas, it’s in 2008 Journal of American College of Surgeons, and that was where they studied all of the different times that various specialities got into the radiological studies. And they were able to determine by type of doctor, because they knew everybody’s passwords, they were able to determine what speciality looked at the radiology filmed themselves most often when they looked at them. They even ended up saying there’s a big drop off at the end of the week regarding the number of times the scans are viewed. So they were able to show that everybody is focused early in the week, but come Friday nobody cares.