10/09/2008 11:00PM

Fast access to medical records

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The Jockey Club has developed a system that will enable racetracks to access a jockey's medical records in the event of an ontrack accident, the organization announced on Friday. The system will be made available to racetracks free-of-charge beginning in November, The Jockey Club said, through The Jockey Club's InCompass Race Track Operations system, which is used by more than 150 racetracks in the country.

The Jockey Club began developing the system this past spring in collaboration with the Jockeys' Guild, Keeneland Racecourse in Kentucky, and Keeneland's medical director, Dr. Barry Schumer. A beta version of the system was available at the start of Keeneland's meet on Oct. 3, and when John Velazquez was hurt in a spill during that day's seventh race, Schumer was able to forward Velazquez's medical record to the hospital while the rider was en route, Keeneland said.

The medical-records system is one of a number of health-related initiatives that The Jockey Club has begun this year to address concerns about the racing industry's safety measures.

Schumer, whom The Jockey Club credited for developing the idea for the system, said instant access to medical records is critical for doctors if a rider is in shock, has a head injury, doesn't speak English, or if no immediate family members are present.

"The information is secure, regularly updates, and always accessible to the emergency team," Schumer said, in a statement.