1975: Registration and the Computer #ThrowbackThursday

In March 1975, Mayo Clinic implemented a new computerized system for registration procedures to admit patients to Mayo. The components of the system included terminals, TV-type displays, printers, and other equipment.


“This is the first visible result of a great amount of work, which has been going on since the program was approved in 1972,” said Mr. Sanford Nerby who headed Central Data Systems. “We call it the 'iceberg syndrome.' Most of the computer system foundation work we do doesn’t show. Only the tip of the iceberg is visible.”

A proposal presented to the Board of Governors in 1972 by the Clinical Practice Committee and Central Data Systems was for development of an automated system to serve numerous areas of Mayo, which initiate, receive, handle, or are dependent upon basic data necessary to patient care. Phase 1 of the development included computerization of registration.

The significance of computerization of registration was not the saving of time or elimination of manual procedures. It was significant because it was a first step toward reducing data redundancy—multiple collection and storage of the same information—and established the basic information foundation for an automated Clinical Information System.

Mr. T. D. Lutz, who led Information and Processing Systems, of which Central Data Systems is a part, was pleased with the system and its capabilities. He said, “The design, development, and validation of such a complex and effective system is an indication of the excellent foundation, which will lead to additional productive extensions of computerization in Mayo’s future.”

Alyssa Frank

Alyssa Frank

Alyssa Frank is a Marketing Segment Manager at Mayo Clinic Laboratories. She leads marketing strategies for product management and specialty testing. Alyssa has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2015.