Adding information from more patients in more counties will make the database even useful, she said.
"To do a study on, for example, pancreatic cancer in Olmsted County, just focusing on this population is hard to do because it's a rare cancer and it just doesn't affect enough people," she said.
Mayo Clinic researchers also aim to improve racial diversity within the records pool. That would address a long-standing shortcoming of the database, as Olmsted County is predominantly white. In time, St. Sauver said, the demographics represented in the database will likely change as the region's minority population grows.
Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mpr.org