Benefits of the EMR at Mayo

The electronic medical record (EMR) is critical to Mayo's ability to provide efficient, coordinated, safe and high-quality care.

"I can quickly and easily pull up test results in the exam room to review with my patients," says Sandhya Pruthi, M.D., of Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. "I also can verify when they had past exams or procedures. I can even show them results of their imaging tests on the screen."

Multiple care providers, in different locations, can simultaneously view a patient's medical record on their computers and get up-to-the-minute information on test results and other doctors' recommendations. This collaboration enables care providers to work more efficiently in determining if further consultation or testing is required.

The record provides important information about medications, including the dosage and time for renewal, and a complete record of your immunizations and allergies.

The EMR helps Mayo personnel quickly access a patient's medical record and reference the information needed to schedule appointments. They can also easily update the record with changes in address or insurance carrier.

Key to quality

"Mayo's integrated medical record has long helped to maintain high standards of quality because the 'open book' serves as an excellent means of peer review," says George B. Bartley, M.D., an ophthalmologist at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. "It's harder for a single doctor to get too far off the track when others can carefully scrutinize the thinking that led to the diagnosis and treatment plan."

He says that the next advances in quality improvement likely will come from the ability of the computer to offer diagnostic possibilities for a certain combination of signs, symptoms and test results, or to recommend various therapeutic options for a problem, such as the best antibiotics for a particular infection. "This should save money, too, because the software can identify a less expensive drug that is equally effective," he says.

Research

The EMR allows researchers to efficiently search patient medical information by medical condition, date of treatment, physician name and test category. Researchers can more quickly focus their attention on medical information that supports their research efforts, develop databases to study patient outcomes, and cross-check complex medical information.

Researchers can use the EMR to analyze large amounts of patient information more efficiently, speeding the application of new research findings to improving patient care.

The EMR is also a key part of a collaboration between Mayo Clinic and IBM to take advantage of an explosion in new medical data to create tighter linkage between research and the practice of medicine to achieve breakthroughs. The collaboration focuses on new techniques to harness patient data to improve diagnoses; deep computing power to model diseases to find cures; and new devices to access information to transform how patients and physicians interact, leading to more individualized care.