As it celebrates its 65th year in existence, Olmsted Medical Center has experienced a number of tremendous improvements to ensure quality care for patients in all regions. Renovations have been made to clinics within Rochester, a clinic opened up in Cannon Falls and a new and improved clinic was built to service Spring Valley residents within the last year.

On Thursday, April 17, two members of the administrative staff, Dr. James Hoffmann, Medical Vice President for

Hospital/Surgical Services, and Stacey Vanden Heuvel, Vice President of Marketing and Philanthropy, presented to members of the Preston community a brief history of Olmsted Medical Center (OMC) and future improvements the organization will be going through.

Back in 1949, Dr. Hal Wente founded OMC in the area that is now the parking lot of Michaels in Rochester. As the clinic grew, it changed locations, founded branch offices, became a not-for-profit organization and updated technology with the advance of medical science.

In a world going digital, OMC has been encouraged to obtain electronic health records organization wide. Though OMC is introducing more electronic records into the clinic, it is much easier said than done. However, they have been looking to incorporate "telehealth visits" into their system. These visits give branching clinics the opportunity to connect with specialists in Rochester via computer rather than sending the patient to Rochester for a special appointment.

One utility people have been using is the estimated wait-time postingsfor the FastCare locations and the Skyway Clinic in Rochester. For those who need to walk in for treatment of more minor illnesses, they can check online to see how long the wait time is at each location and see which would be best for them to go to. Many have said this is a very beneficial tool to use.

OMC has been busy encouraging patients to take a more active role in their healthcare by using the MyOMC secure patient portal, which offers online appointment requests, visit summaries, lab test reports, and more.

Other plans for improvement exist in the Olmsted Medical Hospital in Rochester. As people asked for better medical treatment, OMC realized the necessity to update certain areas of the hospital in order to better serve all who are under their umbrella of care.

Currently, the waiting room facilities are extremely limited and there is not as much privacy as patients are wanting. The Emergency Room is also difficult to get through. So, some expected improvements include more comfortable waiting room space along with more space in general, a greater amount of privacy and easier access to the Emergency Room.

But one more major expansion to Olmsted Medical Center is the upcoming Women's Health Pavilion to be added onto the hospital itself. The Pavilion will focus on services such as life enhancement and wellness, imaging, gynecology, obstetrics and birthing among other things.

Since one of the major events in a woman's life is the birth of a child, much of the discussion of improvements Dr. Hoffmann presented related to the birthing center part of the renovations.

The birthing center has been a key part of the organization from its inception in the 1980s. There they focus on the labor-delivery-recovery-post-partum concept where the comfort and privacy of the mother comes first. The mother-to-be would remain in the same room throughout the whole birthing process. Rather than going through an assembly line and moving from room to room for each step, the nursing team all remains within the room the mother is initially placed inside.

With all the people and equipment to be brought in, under current conditions the room is not as spacious or comfortable to be in. Additionally, though the room itself may be private, bathrooms are shared by a group of rooms, increasing the amount of germs to be shared with several families.

In the new addition, the rooms will be expanded to the point there is much more comfort and space and equipment will be built into the rooms. Bathrooms will be private and a sleeping space for the father or relative staying with the mother will enhance a more comfortable night's rest. Private baths and soaking tubs will also be provided.

In the present facility, waiting room space is also an issue in need of remedy. Also, if a mother needs a C-section there, the mother is taken on a long hike to the operating room.

In the Pavilion, rather than performing a C-section within minutes like under the current facility, the doctors will be able to operate within seconds. There will be six C-section post-partum/observation rooms for those who have undergone the surgery as well.

Talk of the new Women's Health Pavilion has gone on since 1994, but only now has construction begun to take place.

Both Hoffmann and Vanden Heuvel promised these improvements and those seen at other OMC sites will increase the quality of service to the patients throughout the area and create a friendly, family-centered environment for employees and patients everywhere.