Timeclocks: An Alibi for Murder

Are you requesting audit logs for time clock punches? In this age of apps and remote accesses; you should be. Have you ever asked if the employer uses geofencing? Have you ever asked if the employer uses GPS tracking for employee management? If not, you could be missing critical pieces of evidence. In some medical malpractice cases, it is important to know who was working at a particular time, and when they ‘punched’ in and out. For example, in an audit trail case I worked on, it appeared the nurse had documented a crucial piece of information at 0500. The audit trail showed that she never even documented in the medical record until 0925, over four hours later. The defense could have argued that she just documented a late entry. I contended that 0500 was a night shift time, and this was a day shift nurse. We had to request her time clock punches. Luckily, we were able to prove that she did not even punch in for her shift until 0645. This made the case! We had a nurse documenting care and treatment for a patient when she wasn’t even in the building.

However, what if your case involved a nurse who, according to the produced record, had documented care and treatment for a patient on a certain day, AND the time clock punches confirmed that she had worked that shift? What if in this same case, the audit trail did NOT confirm that she documented the care and treatment at the time reflected in the produced record? What if you suspected the nurse had really not been in the building?

This is when you need to do a little more digging into the facility’s time keeping system. Are you aware that employees can use an app on their smartphones to ‘punch’ in and out? An employee can be shopping at the mall and either punch in or out via their smartphone making it appear that they were actually at work. Now, wouldn’t that be a great alibi for murder (or negligence)?

There are companies out there that have these apps as part of their product. These companies should also allow a facility to use geofencing. Essentially, this is a ‘fence’?’ placed around a physical location or certain IP addresses which only allow a person to ‘punch’ in or out if they are physically located within the fence or from a certain IP address. Some companies also have the ability to GPS track their employees during the ‘punches’ in or out.

The beauty of these programs is that they also maintain an audit trail of attempted, aborted, and completed punches. They will also have an audit report showing when the punch time was created or modified, and by whom.

Given this information, we must not only get the time clock punches but find out if they enable geofencing and/or GPS location. We must also be getting audit data on the time clock punches.

Gonsman Group provides a full range of legal nursing services from review for merit, to in depth case analysis, assistance with depositions and mediation, and expert witness location. Michele Gonsman also performs Clinical Forensic Documentation Analysis. Michele Gonsman can review the medical record, assist with audit trail demands, and forensically analyze the audit trail data. Contact us via our Contact Page.

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