EPIC software is used by many hospitals to track patient care and manage the overall patient experience. When something goes wrong during a patient stay that leads to long-term injuries or death of the patient, it is highly common that medical malpractice litigation ensues.
Health Information Personal Privacy Act, HIPPA
The Health Information Personal Privacy Act, commonly referred to as HIPPA, places several important requirements on health care providers. HIPPA requires that all access to a patient’s electronic medical record commonly referred to as EMR, track all addition, modifications, and allow access while ensuring the complete revision history of the EMR is maintained.
EMR Audit Log
Audit logs or audit trails are required to ensure that reconstruction of the complete revision history can be established. EPIC printed reports of patient’s EMR can be produced using various filters that result in a less than complete production of the patient’s full electronic medical records. Some of the filters that are routinely used include:
- Date filter to show only the time the patient was receiving care at the healthcare provider
- Production of only non-confidential notations
- Production of only the final version of the EMR without the detailed revision history
- Filter notes exclusive to the named defendant health care providers
- Filter by department
These filters described previously when used in producing a patient’s EMR result in an incomplete production of the EMR.
EPIC has a communication platform known as Sticky Notes. This serves as an instant messaging mode of communication between healthcare workers discussing a specific patient. EPIC lacks a report that can allow easy printing or export of these notes. This creates a common misperception among health providers that these notes are not part of the legal discoverable record. In fact, there are other ways to access these sticky notes, which are an important part of documenting the patient care provided. An in-person inspection of the EMR using a camera to record the user’s screen can allow for obtaining these important communications. These sticky notes are part of the EMR and are subject to preservation by HIPPA.
During an onsite inspection to obtain the complete EMR, it is important to ensure that the user accessing EPIC has full administrative rights to the system. In some health care organizations, sticky notes may be accessible only to physicians. Regardless, obtaining these important communications can be a vital source of information to reveal important events leading up to a lifelong injury or death.
Enigma Forensics has assisted in numerous medical malpractice cases working with either the plaintiff or defendant’s side of litigation. Our experts dig through each record to analyze ultimately to find the “smoking gun!” We call ourselves the data detectives! If you are working on a medical malpractice case and would like to win, call Enigma Forensics at 312-668-0333.