March 12, 1999

EPIC Passes First Part of Year 2000 Testing

In preparation for the year 2000, Information Management is testing each of the Medical Center core computer systems for Y2K readiness. Recently tested was the Epic system, used to schedule clinic appointments, outpatient registration, and physician billing.

"The Epic system is relatively new and our vendor has declared it to be Y2K compliant," said Vicki McCarthy, manager of projects in Information Management. "We tested it anyway, because there have been numerous examples, even here at Vanderbilt, where testing of 'Y2K compliant' systems uncovered the infamous 'millennium bug.' This is why we are testing each and every system, just to be safe."

No problems were found when the Epic system's basic functions were put to the test, which involved moving the clock forward, checking in an appointment in the year 2000, entering charges, and then billing that mock patient.

Even though the Epic system itself works well with 2000 dates, VUMC computers could still encounter problems when they interact with other systems. In late April, Information Management is scheduled to complete a more comprehensive test that will ensure that VUMC's many systems all work together.

"It's just good business practice for all departments within VUMC to test the software applications that are important to their administrative operations and to meeting our missions in patient care, education, and research," said Bob Blencoe, director of Remote Site Information Technology.

MARS service

Access to MARS from any remote location is now generally available to VMG members, through a newly implemented technology known as ActivCard. To find out more about this new technology and how you can begin to access MARS remotely, visit the main MARS web page at Follow the link at the bottom of the page to get started. Simply complete and submit the required forms and you will be issued an ActivCard within a few business days.

OVID journals

In response to requests for more electronic journals, the Eskind Biomedical Library will provide access to 131 new electronic journals through OVID effective March 1999. Titles include major research, clinical, and nursing journals such as the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Hypertension, Kidney International, and Nurse Researcher. A complete list of titles is available in the library's online newsletter, the Catalist, at

Also effective March 1999, the Eskind Biomedical Library is adding two new databases, Evidence-Based Medicine Reviews (EBMR) and EMBASE Drugs & Pharmacology, to its database collection through Ovid. Evidence-Based Medicine Reviews is a database designed for use by clinicians, researchers and students and provides content from two premier sources: the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and Best Evidence, a database that contains the ACP Journal Club.

EMBASE Drugs & Pharmacology, a subset of EMBASE, the Excerpta Medica database, contains the most important citations and abstracts of the worldwide drug literature. Information covered includes effects, use, administration, side effects, manufacturers, and trade names of all current, potential and experimental drugs, and approved and prospective drugs. More information is available in the Catalist at

Ask ELIS service

The Eskind Biomedical Library (EBL) has launched a service that allows library users to ask the EBL's information specialists questions electronically.

The service, dubbed "Ask ELIS", will answer questions about services, access, electronic resources, and technology in the Eskind Biomedical Library. The service is intended for the library's primary users and uses a triage approach to provide informative answers. Questions submitted to "Ask ELIS" will be answered most quickly 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The "Ask ELIS" service can be reached at