Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - This is the weekend the Mayo Clinic has chosen to activate one of the most ambitious upgrades in the storied history of the world-famous medical institution.

At 1 a.m. Saturday the migration from Mayo’s existing electronic medical record system to a brand new program developed by Wisconsin-based Epic began. It represents a climactic moment for an over $1.5 billion dollar project aimed at transforming the way Mayo Clinic records and stores the medical records of its millions of patients while also creating new opportunities for utilizing that data to develop innovative strategies for treating ailments and increasing cost-effectiveness.

Mayo has directed enormous resources to the success of the transition. Thousands of Mayo employees have received special training and outside specialists have been brought to Rochester to assist the staff as they tap into the training they have received to navigate an entirely new interface for entering patient data, medical orders and prescriptions. Sources say surgery schedules have been altered and the number of scheduled appointments reduced to help soften the impact of the change-over in the first several weeks of what could be a challenging launch of the Epic system.

Eventually, the Epic system will be rolled out to the entire Mayo Clinic operation, including the campuses in Florida and Arizona, along with the Mayo Clinic Health Care system. Mayo Clinic says that will create a seamless system for tracking crucial information about Mayo patients wherever they seek care.

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