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27 Jan 2019

What is an “audit trail”?

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Audit trail means a secure, computer-generated, time-stamped electronic record that allows for reconstruction of the course of events relating to the creation, modification, or deletion of an electronic record. For example, the audit trail for a high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) run should include the user name, date/time of the run, the integration parameters used, and details of a reprocessing, if any. Documentation should include change justification for the reprocessing.

Audit trails include those that track creation, modification, or deletion of data (such as processing parameters and results) and those that track actions at the record or system level (such as attempts to access the system or rename or delete a file).
CGMP-compliant record-keeping practices prevent data from being lost or obscured and ensure that activities are documented at the time of performance (see §§ 211.68, 211.100, 211.160(a), 211.188, and 211.194). Electronic record-keeping systems, which include audit trails, can support these CGMP requirements.

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