Are you checking your EMR Audit logs? Part of meaningful use, is that your certified EMR must be able to log where an employee has been, and what they are doing. 

Employees in healthcare systems all over the country are being fired or disciplined for “snooping”. Especially high profile patients. In Roanoke, Virginia, 14 employees were found to have accessed a high profile patient’s medical records without a “legitimate patient care need”. Those employees were either terminated or disciplined. Hospitals and practices will not view the log for every patient, but when a high profile patient has a medical record, the compliance department will most likely audit that log on a regular basis.

What are the reasons an employee will access a patients chart? Actually, there are many reasons. Number one is curiosity. The “just want to know”. Remember years back when George Clooney had a motorcycle accident and 13 people were fired for looking at his record? Of course, George took the high road and said “these are good healthcare workers and I hate to see them lose their jobs”. Still, it is completely inappropriate to look at anyone’s records, not just George Clooneys.

Doing a random check on EMR logs is becoming more of a standard in healthcare. People are interested in their neighbors records, or their husbands ex-wives, etc. Snooping is much more common than you think. We mostly hear about it when someone is caught.

How much is the fine?

If someone is caught selling a celebrity’s personal health information for personal gain, that could result in 10 years in jail and a $250K fine. So, ask your practice manager…”are you checking EMR your audit logs?” If they answer is “no”, you may want to start!