Cerner urges hospitals to test their software systems for Y2K readiness

Kansas City 26 March 1999 The thorough testing of all software systems constitutes a crucial part of hospital and health system Y2K preparedness, according to Cerner Corporation. This company is a major supplier of clinical and management information and knowledge systems to over 1000 health care organizations worldwide. Hospital systems which are not currently engaged in the last 90 days of planning for the famous millennium bug incur the risk to ultimately lack the adequate protection for patients and caregivers in case of a critical system failure on January 1st, 2000. Cerner's Health Network Architecture (HNA) Classic and Millennium solutions have successfully passed the severe testing in order to confirm their readiness for the Year 2000.

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The thorough testing of all software systems constitutes a crucial part of hospital and health system Y2K preparedness, according to Cerner Corporation. This company is a major supplier of clinical and management information and knowledge systems to over 1000 health care organizations worldwide. Hospital systems which are not currently engaged in the last 90 days of planning for the famous millennium bug incur the risk to ultimately lack the adequate protection for patients and caregivers in case of a critical system failure on January 1st, 2000. Cerner's Health Network Architecture (HNA) Classic and Millennium solutions have successfully passed the severe testing in order to confirm their readiness for the Year 2000.

Early March, a United States Senate Special Committee already warned that many doctors and hospitals are not sufficiently prepared for the millennium bug. A report which was issued by the Gartner Group at the end of last year, states that 64 percent of the hospitals do not consider to test the existing clinical software for Y2K readiness. This is why the Cerner company decided to once more sound the red alert in support of the standard industry practice which recommends that all hospital software should be submitted to the Y2K compliance test. All major industry leaders keep insisting that the planning has to include a satisfactory period of testing to guarantee that no critical systems will fail on the big day.

Since the start of the year 2000 is closing in, there are on the other hand a lot of savvy health systems and hospitals, which are reserving a substantial amount of resources. In this way, they try to make sure that all automated processes and computers, ranging from patient data systems to biomedical devices, will be made standby for the turn of the century. For some health care organizations, the problem becomes extremely acute as the Y2K action plans undertaken by them, do not seem to live up at all to their compliance expectations. In order to assist hospitals with Y2K preparedness, Cerner is offering radiology and laboratory software systems for fast implementation in hospitals which are facing critical year 2000 issues.

The HNA Express solution has been on the market since 1992. The system can be installed in only four months and features the Y2K compliant Health Network Architecture (HNA) Classic software. As such, HNA Express offers a viable option for ordering tests and performing diagnostic work in case that the existing hospital software might show signs of malfunctioning on the first day of the year 2000. During the extensive tests, no single trace of change in the database structure has been identified within the Cerner systems. This plan has been in place for nearly three years, allowing Cerner to provide its clients with a sound approach for a seamless transition to the next century. Proactive communication is cherished as a key concept to meet this goal.

For that matter, the company team has also published a guide to Year 2000 readiness and circulated a Y2K newsletter to clients which not only contains information on Cerner's architecture, but even has information on interfaces, medical devices, hardware, third party software as well as useful suggestions for validation procedures. In addition, Cerner holds in store for hospitals the HNA Millennium family of client/server solutions, as the fifth generation of HNA applications, designed to manage all health and automated processes across the continuum of care. These systems are suited to perfectly meet the needs of today's hospital into the next millennium with an enterprisewide, lifetime electronic medical record at the core of the architecture, and a robust decision support capability integrated into the messaging system.


Leslie Versweyveld

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