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

Explaining an EMR Audit Log and how Physicians can avoid med-mal lawsuits

By Craig Brodsky to EMR/EHR


ALL MD attorney Craig Brodsky gives his expert advice to physicians on how they can avoid medical malpractice lawsuits by explaining what an EMR Audit Log is.

Mr. Brodsky is a partner with the firm Goodell, Devries. He has represented attorneys, physicians, psychologists, healthcare organizations, nursing homes, group homes, developers, adoption agencies, and real estate brokers. He has developed a concentration in defending healthcare providers in birth trauma, and cerebral palsy ligation. He frequently presents to healthcare providers and attorneys on current developments in the law in medical issues.

Question 3 of 5

Interview was recorded June 12, 2015


Mike: Hi, my name’s Mike Matray, and I’m your host of Healthcare Matters, where the medical and legal community comes together to discuss healthcare matters. Welcome to Healthcare Matters, Craig.

Craig: Good morning.

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

Craig: So, the audit trail logs, in basic, is a similar to metadata. And it just tells you when somebody entered a particular item into the record, or it tells you when a particular field was accessed for information. And so, what that allows plaintiff’s counsel to do is be able to tell whether records have been changed, whether somebody entered a note late, whether something’s been erased from the record, or something along those lines. It just is a signature as to who’s doing what, when. So, when items happen in a hospital, or at a doctor’s office, this allows the plaintiff’s counsel to see whether there is accuracy in the records. And if there’s inaccuracies in the records, that takes away from the ability to defend a case.

On the flip side, if the records show a solid audit trail, and that information was timely and accurate, and not altered in any way, then that allows a good contemporaneous record as to when it happens. One thing that would be important would be, on this issue, I think, would be to make sure that the accurate timing . . . if a physician is entering a time into the record, or believes that the timing of something is important in a note, take the moment to actually put in the time that something was done, so that that information is in there contemporaneously.

Mike: Excellent. Well, thank you, Craig, for spending your afternoon with us here on Healthcare Matters. And good luck to you, and I hope to speak with you in the future.

Craig: Thanks very much