This site offers health care providers a clearing house of information on how to become 2000-compliant. The existence of this recently created site (Oct. 22) indicates just how far behind the health care industry is. It is just getting started.
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The Rx2000 Solutions Institute today announced the availability of a new Supplier Information Clearinghouse, designed to help the nation's health care community respond to the threat of the Year 2000 "millennium virus."
Joel Ackerman, the non-profit Institute’s Executive Director and former Vice President of International Information Systems at United HealthCare Corporation, states "If predictions for Year 2000 system failures are even partially true, the result will be computer systems and business operations failure that could have devastating consequences for health care delivery and patients’ lives."
"We know the health care industry is concentrating its efforts on internal computer systems" Mr. Ackerman continued. "Because of this, however, less attention is being paid to other critically important issues such as:
"Who’s monitoring the thousands of national and local suppliers whose products and services are vital to daily operations?
"How will health care administrators know if their internal Year 2000 compliance efforts are being matched by similar supplier and vendor efforts?
"Could patient lives be threatened by a vendor’s Year 2000 product or service failure, even though providers’ internal systems have been brought into compliance?" . . .
"The potential impact of the January 1, 2000 date change on hospitals and all other elements of our health care delivery system -- not just computer systems -- is astonishing" continued Mr. Ackerman. "Virtually everything in the health care environment that uses computer chips is at risk, and poor Year 2000 preparation may lead to the failure of critical clinical systems or equally devastating supplier, health care product and diagnostic testing failures."
"Health care delivery systems and clinics depend on hundreds -- and in many cases, thousands -- of suppliers to provide on-time and accurate delivery of diagnostic test results, pharmaceuticals, sterile supplies and life-saving technologies. Power management systems, blood banks, ambulance services, medical and monitoring devices, record keeping, telephones, even elevators are provided and maintained by outside vendors. Failure of any one of these systems can result in serious disruption and patients may be needlessly harmed or even die."