Sept. 1990: Fiber-Optic Cable Launches Integration #ThrowbackThursday

sept1990inet2At Mayo Clinic in September 1990, work got underway to develop the Institutional Data Network, an integrated computer network for the Arizona, Florida, and Minnesota campuses.

When Mayo opened clinics in Jacksonville and Scottsdale in 1986 and 1987, respectively, each clinic used independent computers and programs to provide registration, scheduling, order entry, and patient accounting functions. Although the computers were right for start-up operations, they soon became overloaded by the clinics’ rapid growth, resulting in data-processing delays.

Two options were considered to overcome the computers’ limited capacity. The first was to replace the equipment at each location with large-capacity computers. The second was to connect the large-capacity mainframe computers already in Rochester to new, compatible terminals and printers in Jacksonville and Scottsdale by extending the Institutional Data Network (I-NET) from Rochester to each location. The latter option was selected for its economic and functional merits.

Planning for the network began in mid-1989. In January, the assignment was issued to implement and extend I-NET to Jacksonville and Scottsdale. The data communications system enabled easy and fast exchange of information among Mayo computers no matter where they were located. I-NET was an essential first step before Scottsdale and Jacksonville computer programs could be moved to Rochester.

“Teamwork and shared beliefs in Mayo among Rochester, Jacksonville, and Scottsdale were key ingredients to the successful extension of I-NET and the new computer systems for Jacksonville and Scottsdale,” said Tom Rau, Information Services, Mayo Clinic in Rochester. “This project reflects Mayo’s commitment to providing integrated health care through comprehensive voice, video, and data communication systems linking all three sites.

Alyssa Frank (@alyssafrank)

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.