The Mayo Clinic's treasure trove of medical records is getting even bigger. Since 1966, Mayo has collected as many records as possible from Olmsted County, Minn., and used them to generate important studies that help save lives. The Rochester Epidemiology Project now holds close to 600,000 medical records.
The project is now expanding to include patients from Mayo affiliates in seven other southeastern Minnesota counties, which will help researchers broaden the database, Minnesota Public Radio reported Monday (http://bit.ly/14iXEzP ). The counties are Dodge, Fillmore, Goodhue, Houston, Mower, Wabasha and Winona. The hospital-and-clinic system also has made contact with other regional providers outside of the Mayo system to see if they're interested in participating.
Jennifer St. Sauver, scientific manager of the project, says having access to a large and growing pool of medical records gives researchers many more study options.
"The great thing about the Rochester Epidemiology Project is that it's not confined just to one particular disease area or one particular condition," she said. "Instead, since it's just capturing all of the health care received by this local population, you can do studies of virtually any condition you can think of."