Editorials

Clinical information systems and the year 2000

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7080.534 (Published 22 February 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:534

Ensuring that dates are correct will be expensive but not doing so could cost more

  1. M F Smitha
  1. a Department of General Practice and Primary Care, St Bartholomew's and the Royal London Hospital's School of Medicine and Dentistry, London EC1M 6BQ

    In what sounds like a horror story, the crash of as many as 45 000 computer systems is predicted as the year 2000 dawns.1 Awareness is now growing of the problems posed by the millennium for computer systems, which is caused by the way that these systems handle dates. For all industries worldwide to correct their date handling before 2000 may cost as much as $600bn (£400bn).2 Clinical information systems represent a proportion of this problem, and those responsible for them need to take steps now to ensure that they do not fail in three years' time.

    The millennium problem is the result of a shortcut often taken by those implementing computer …

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