Rochester Epidemiology Project

The Rochester Epidemiology Project (REP) began in 1966 as a long-term initiative to collect, link and archive the medical information of people living in Olmsted County, Minn. This unique medical records-linkage system has provided the basis for more than 2,000 publications on the causes and outcomes of hundreds of diseases; and has frequently changed how diseases are understood and treated.

Patients who visit a participating clinic or hospital in Olmsted County for the first time are asked to sign a form that gives permission for their medical record to be used for research. If a patient agrees, their medical record automatically becomes part of the REP, which means REP research can usually be conducted without any additional demands on a patient's time.

All personal and medical information is kept strictly confidential, and only scientists with institutional approvals are given access. More than 95 percent of Olmsted County residents have given their permission for their records to be part of REP.

REP has been supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health since inception.