Benefits of a digital audit log in orthodontic practices

An audit log is a chronological record that provides documentary evidence of who accessed a medical record, when they accessed it, from where, and exactly what they did, such as add new data, modify or remove existing data.

The audit trail provides a baseline for analysis or when historical information is needed, for reconciliation, audit compliance, investigation, risk management and even staff training.

Benefits of an Audit Trail

The ability to follow records back to their origin provides numerous benefits, including transparency and a defense of records for compliance, record integrity and accuracy, system protection from misuse or harm, and security of sensitive or vital information. These are achieved through these four areas:

  • Accountability: As each user knows that their actions are automatically recorded and tied to their unique identity, the audit log promotes appropriate user behaviour, discourages improper use of information, unauthorized use or modifications.
  • Historical reconstruction: When an investigation is actioned, the first step to remediate a problem is knowing the "when,” the “how," and the "what" of the event. Visibility of this information aids rapid problem detection and prevents future occurrences.
  • Intrusion: Unauthorized access can be a serious problem for any digital system. Regulations such as GDPR now mandate for the security of information and maintaining confidentiality. Protection also extends to personnel information and medical and financial records.
  • Other areas: Audit logs identify problems that indicate system issues, operational issues, unusual or suspicious activities, or system and operator errors.