Team USA can cross one big task off its list for the London Olympics games and forthcoming events: finding a place to store thousands of pallets with boxes of paper medical records for its athletes. And then paying to transport all the records to that location.

That’s because the U.S. Olympics Committee (USOC) is working to convert those records into an extensive electronic medical records system that will support the care of the more than 700 athletes who will compete in the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Information for the volunteers who support the USOC is also being added over time.

Over the past three months, the USOC has been populating as system with current medical information for athletes who are expected to compete in London. While all of the legacy records aren’t being added immediately because of the sheer magnitude of that data migration effort, any athlete who has suffered a recent injury is having that information included. The system will also include current laboratory and training results that could have a bearing on treatment during the games.

All of this information can be accessed both by the USOC medical staff and by the athletes themselves, according to the USOC.

Dr. Bill Moreau, the USOC managing director of sports medicine, said that the electronic system is far more convenient than the existing paper trail the USOC doctors use. It will allow specialists to share images and diagnostics results more easily, which can help speed diagnosis and treatment. His team is working on customized forms that will allow it to collect far more details information than in the past, Moreau said.

The fact that the system can be accessed through an Internet portal — from anywhere around the world where there is connectivity — gives U.S. Women’s National Team player Alex Morgan a sense of “ease.” She said it has been a challenge in the past to gain access to records or updated health information. Long after the London games, the GE solution will help provide Morgan with secure access to her information regardless of where she is training or competing.

Benefits of the electronic system will include support for more collaborative diagnosis and analytics that will allow doctors to pinpoint trends and gain more insight into how various health factors affect athlete’s performance.

Source: www.smartplanet.com; Heather Clancy; May 24, 2012.

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