Technology update: Ready for the new daylight saving time?

March 5, 2007

It may not be exactly the next Y2K, but analysts warn that few IT systems are prepared for the new Daylight Saving Time that will begin March 11, 2007, and end on Nov. 4. In 2005 Congress passed the Energy Policy Act, which changed the national dates for Daylight Saving Time. If system calendars are not reprogrammed, the new dates may play havoc with computer systems and disruptions at an IT infrastructure and application level are likely.

It may not be exactly the next Y2K, but analysts warn that few IT systems are prepared for the new Daylight Saving Time that will begin March 11, 2007, and end on Nov. 4. In 2005 Congress passed the Energy Policy Act, which changed the national dates for Daylight Saving Time. If system calendars are not reprogrammed, the new dates may play havoc with computer systems and disruptions at an IT infrastructure and application level are likely.

What this will mean for pharmacy, hospital, and other healthcare systems remains unclear. Gartner cautions that the change might impact calendar, billing, and security applications as well as a host of other systems that depend on the computer's internal clock.

In response, many software companies are beginning to issue fixes to smooth out the transition. Omnicell, for example, has created a software solution to help transition hospital servers to the new Daylight Saving Time. Omnicell has developed patches for Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Windows 2000, and NT 4.0. For computers embedded in Omnicell's automated dispensing systems, a patch is provided for Microsoft Windows XP. For more information on Omnicell's patches go to http://www.omnicell.com/.

E-Records gets a Cardinal boost

Cardinal Health has joined the Dossia Founders Group, which seeks to underwrite an independent, nonprofit, Web-based e-records system for U.S. employees, dependents, and retirees to maintain lifelong personal health records. Cardinal Health is the first healthcare company to join Dossia, as announced last December. Fellow Dossia Founders Group members include Applied Materials, BP America., Intel Corp., Pitney Bowes, and Wal-Mart.

New clinical tool available on-line

Printer updates

Zebra Technologies has announced that its line of desktop printers is now using Aztec Code bar-code symbology. Aztec Code is designed to facilitate quick and accurate scanning at the point of care. Aztec Code symbology can be used for a variety of patient-safety applications, including patient identification wristbands and labels for unit-of-use medications, IV mixtures, blood products, and specimens. In addition, Cognitive Solutions has just launched a new thermal printer for high-quality prescription labels for hospital or retail pharmacy operations. The thermal label solution is a "plug-n-play" script printer ready to upgrade virtually any current script labeling application.