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

How a Healthcare Professional can avoid the Pitfalls Associated with an EMR Audit Log

By John Degnan to EMR/EHR


In this episode, Healthcare Matters interviews ALL MD attorney John Degnan on how an electronic medical record’s audit and access log can have a significant impact on the defensibility of a medical malpractice claim.

Degnan is a shareholder at BRIGGS & MORGAN. He practices law in Minnesota, representing clients in business disputes, as well as members of the legal and medical communities in professional matters.

Degnan 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 was recorded September 4, 2015


Mike Matray: Hi, and welcome to Healthcare Matters where the medical and legal communities come together to discuss healthcare matters. Today’s guest is John Degnan.

Welcome to Healthcare Matters, John.

John Degnan: Thank you. I’m happy to be here.

Mike: An EMR’s audit log and access log can often be the Achilles’ heel in defending a 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 EMR or electronic medical record?

John: Sure. These audits capture virtually everything that has taken place in the record. That is each time someone enters it, it records exactly who was in the record, when, what was done with the record. And so it can be the physician’s or medical provider’s best friend or worst enemy. In other words, it can exactly duplicate or show what was done at the time. And oftentimes that will even maybe help to avoid a claim.

On the other hand, if changes are made and they’re not clear, or as we refer to the changes and deletions and don’t show what it is, the other side can use that to show that they must be destroying evidence, hiding something, and then they get the benefit of telling the jury it must have been bad. And even in regulatory systems responding to subpoenas by the state or federal governments, it’s very important so that it can be easily seen and it avoids issues that could be raised by that entity.