Yes, your safety and the confidentiality of your medical information are protected. All studies using the Rochester Epidemiology Project must be approved by a group of experts in patient’s rights and safety called the Institutional Review Board or IRB. All studies conducted with the Rochester Epidemiology Project need to be approved by both the Mayo Clinic IRB and the Olmsted Medical Center IRB.
Researchers who look at your record or contact you for further information will keep your information completely confidential. You will never be individually identified in a report about a disease or symptom. Information from any given patient is always combined with information from many other patients so that it is impossible to tell which persons participated in a study. For example, it would never be reported that “John Peterson had a heart attack on January 1, 2005.” Instead, an investigator might report, “50 men had heart attacks in January, 2005, in Olmsted County, MN.”