ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Mayo Clinic has developed a tool to help flatten the curve against COVID-19. It uses the clinic's electronic health records to help notify any staff members that may have been exposed to a patient or staff member who's tested positive.
"It's actually several digital tools that we've developed to assist with our healthcare worker contact tracing and exposure investigation," said Dr. Laura Breeher, Mayo Clinic Occupational Health Services Medical Director.
The first step, or tool, allows managers and supervisors at the clinic to submit a list of employees that may have been exposed to a patient admitted to Mayo hospitals who tested positive for COVID-19.
"They would be able to go through their records and list not only those employees that may have charted in the electronic medical record, but also employees that had close contact with that patient that may not have charted in the medical record," said Dr. Breeher.
A second step is to give potentially exposed employees a questionnaire about the contact so a risk assessment can be performed.
"Whether that was less than six feet, whether if it was more than five minutes, what personal protective equipment they were wearing, or if they have any symptoms so we can very quickly access," said Dr. Breeher.
In some parts of the country, it can take days to identify potential contacts.
But with this tool, Mayo looks to shorten that to just hours.
"Here at Mayo we wanted to make sure that we are doing this as rapidly as we can,"said Dr. Breeher.
Mayo Clinic only started building this tracking tool three weeks ago.
"By doing this contract tracing, we're removing those individuals that may develop COVID in the next couple weeks from interacting with other healthcare workers and patients,"said Dr. Breeher.
The tracking tool launched in Rochester nine days ago and is expected to be implemented at the Florida and Arizona campuses on Wednesday. Mayo says this is something that may be used again in the future to track the spread of other diseases.