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One patient, one file

Austin Medical Center and Albert Lea Medical Center will launch a new electronic medical record system this Saturday.

After that, the new system will be live across all Mayo Health System locations in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin.

That will put all of the Mayo Health System sites ahead of other health care organizations throughout the country, said Dr. John Coppes, AMC medical director.

"We are excited to offer this new technology to our patients," Coppes said.

All patient information from all locations will be available in one electronic system, making access and sharing of information immediate.


AMC has been using an electronic medical record system for more than seven years now, said AMC Vice President Tammy Kritzer. Patients should not see too many differences, except maybe slight delays during the in-clinic process while the staff adjusts to the learning curve of a new system, Kritzer said.

One of the main concerns with health records is patient privacy. All historical information will be transferred to the new system and nothing will be lost, Kritzer said. The new electronic medical records system will be a closely monitored, password-protected system.

"We're in a better position to ensure patient privacy and safety," Kritzer said.

Within the new system, access to information is assigned to staff based on his or her position. Employees will be able to obtain only what is necessary in order to do their jobs and properly care for a patient.

"It's a huge issue in health care ... that patient privacy and security is a big deal," Kritzer said. "And we are obligated to keep patients' personal health information private. And I would say that that's an obligation that we take seriously at the medical center."

With all Mayo Health System sites having access to records, unnecessary duplication of services should be reduced, which should keep costs down, "and that's a big deal in today's environment," Kritzer said.

The coordination of care between providers should be improved with the new system, Kritzer said. eliminating the need to rely on faxes or mail to receive information.

"I think patients need to know and understand that this is a huge enhancement to our ability to provide safe and high-quality care," Kritzer said.

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