Rochester Epidemiology Project introduces data exploration portal on disease prevalence

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The Rochester Epidemiology Project, a partnership of healthcare organizations in Minnesota and Wisconsin for the sharing of medical records for research, is celebrating 50 years of service. The Project is beginning in the next 50 years with the launch of the Data Exploration Portal, which aims to improve community and public health in the two states.

Containing health data dating back 50 years from a database for Olmsted County, Minnesota, and medical records of residents from 26 counties in Minnesota and Wisconsin, the portal aims to improve research into disease prevalence. The free tool is meant to be used by providers and patients to determine if additional research is needed into a specific disease.

“Knowing what conditions are most common in our communities helps us plan programs and allocate funds in an efficient manner,” said Pete Giesen, director of Olmsted County Public Health Services. “Much like what we can do from a public health perspective, advocacy groups may use the Rochester Epidemiology Project’s Data Exploration Portal to help define the health landscape and identify diseases and conditions that appear together. This could lead to new education, outreach or collaboration opportunities.”

Users in the portal are able to search for specific information on age, sex and geographic area to determine if data are available on prevalence of a disease. The portal can be used by public health agencies to identify conditions relevant to certain communities.

“The new data exploration portal will provide information about whether a particular condition exists in a geographic area,” stated Kathryn Lombardo, MD, president of Olmsted Medical Center. “For clinicians, this means we will be able to better determine the likelihood that two different clinical conditions could occur together. And, at point-of-care, it will help us determine what questions may need to be asked of our patients and, ultimately, enable us to provide more personalized care.”

“The Rochester Epidemiology Project Data Exploration Portal provides a new way to examine the occurrence of diseases and facilitate prevention in our community,” said Walter Rocca, MD, a neurologist and epidemiologist at Mayo Clinic and co-director of the Rochester Epidemiology Project. “We are excited to be able to share some of the data and to see what other insights it will bring to community health and wellness.”