For healthcare professionals only

Information In Practice


BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 26 April 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:1257
  1. Mark Pallen

    The year 2000—are you ready?

    • Recent news reports have highlighted the problem of the year 2000. In case you missed them, the problem is that many computer systems will fail to work properly after 1 January 2000 because they store years in two digit format (such as 97, 98, 99) and will think that they are suddenly in the year 1900. The worst case scenario includes empty supermarket shelves, planes grounded, traffic system malfunctions, and power cuts accompanied by a stock market crash and economic depression as business failures cascade through the economy and faith in financial and banking systems plummets (

    • Medical computer systems may also be vulnerable, so make sure your computer support services department is taking the problem seriously now. For more information, visit the Year 2000 Information Center on or the UK Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency's Millennium Bomb Home Page (

    Coming soon to a medical school near you

    British general practice on line

    Cloned sheep in cyberspace?

    Self help on the net

    • Many people turn to the Internet for emotional support to help them cope with chronic diseases, psychological disorders, and even simple loneliness. Often they receive help and accurate advice; sometimes they are misled or made worse by their experiences on line. The stronger the medical presence on line, the more likely it is for good advice and information to prevail. To sample the emotional support facilities available on the net see You may even wish to recommend some of the resources to your patients.

    Mental Health Net

    • Mental Health Net ( claims to be the largest, most comprehensive guide to mental health on line, featuring over 6000 individual resources. The award winning site carries information on disorders such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks, chronic fatigue syndrome, and substance misuse. In addition, there are professional resources in psychology, psychiatry, and social work, together with journals and self help magazines.

    Web authoring made simple

    MSc in medical informatics

    • The University of Teeside is advertising an MSc in medical informatics to start in September 1997. The course is designed for people working in the health service and consists of a collection of one week short courses (many also available as stand alone courses) and a major project. For more information, see

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