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Launched in 2014 by journalist Sean Baker, Med City Beat is an independent news source covering government, business and culture in Rochester, Minnesota.

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An 'Epic' transition for Mayo

An 'Epic' transition for Mayo

Mayo Clinic has consistently been at the forefront of modern medical advancements and a leader in the evolution of the medical record system. This year, the Rochester-based health system took a significant step forward with an enterprise project, moving all data to a single electronic health record and billing system: Epic. 

The $1.5 billion project, now two and a half years in the works, has included thousands of Mayo personnel who have been involved in planning, building and testing the new system. 

The first launch was in July at the Mayo Clinic Health System sites in Wisconsin, followed by a rollout this month at its Health System locations in Minnesota. The Epic Systems software is scheduled to go live at its flagship Rochester campus in May 2018, followed by its Arizona and Florida hospitals in October 2018.

“This is one of the largest projects in Mayo Clinic history and is quite complex," said Dr. Steve Peters, Mayo's chief medical information officer. So far, feedback from staff has been "very positive," he added. "We expect to make adjustments along the way, as needed."

Instead of using three electronic health systems, as Mayo has been doing, Epic holds all information in one place. This allows healthcare providers and patients to access medical history, track medications, allergies, and immunizations from all Mayo locations. Patients will also be able to check in electronically, and will receive one billing statement — no matter where at Mayo they are seen. 

"By moving to a single, integrated health record, providers will be able to spend even more time focusing on their patients," said Dr. Peters.

More than 51,000 Mayo Clinic staff will be trained to use the record system. Every employee affected by the transition will receive comprehensive training based on their roles.

"This is a journey, a transformation over time," said Dr. Peters. "We have made extensive preparations and have consulted with a number of organizations about their implementations — what went well and not so well."

The transition is internally called the "Plummer Project," a tribute to Henry Plummer's original medical record system. Plummer and his colleague, Mabel Root, first developed a numeric registration system in 1907, and, since then, Mayo has registered over 8 million patients using the same pioneering principles.

In addition to Mayo, this month Olmsted Medical Center announced its plans to replace its two existing medical record systems with Epic. Doing so will likely make it easier for the region's top two medical providers to communicate and exchange patient records. OMC's implementation of Epic is scheduled for September 2018. 

Written by contributor Micalyn Maier. A senior at Mayo High School, Micalyn enjoys reading, writing and traveling. She wants to pursue a career in journalism covering social justice issues.

Cover photo: Licensed / Canva

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