December 17, 1999

VUMC braced for Y2K

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A study by William Dupont, Ph.D., has found evidence of a biologic marker of increased breast cancer risk. (photo by Dana Johnson)

VUMC braced for Y2K

Everything's finished but the waiting.

All major systems have been upgraded and tested, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center is prepared for whatever may happen when the clock strikes midnight on Dec. 31.

The institution and its personnel, officials say, are ready to take on whatever Y2K has to offer.

"All of the patient tracking, billing, and record-keeping systems are year 2000 compliant," said Robert W. Blencoe, director of Remote Site Technology.

Information Management has tested each of the medical center's core computer systems for Y2K readiness, both separately and together.

"Some of the systems are relatively new and their vendors have declared them to be Y2K compliant," said Vicki McCarthy, manager of projects in Information Management. "We test them anyway, because there have been numerous examples, even here at Vanderbilt, where testing of supposedly Y2K-compliant systems uncovered potential problems. So we are testing each and every system, just to be safe."

Plans are also in place that ensure VUMC will be able to respond to any scenario that may occur on New Year's Eve. And these scenarios aren't limited solely to the medical center's internal operations. As a key component of Middle Tennessee's emergency services infrastructure, the medical center has to be prepared for just about anything.

"We believe that the medical center will not experience any glitches in our own systems, but another aspect of being prepared is making sure we are ready for any problems that come up throughout the region," said Blencoe.

Some staff of the medical center will be required to be present or on-call the night of December 31.

As different departments have different staffing needs, each has separate plans for staffing New Year's Eve. If employees are unsure about the needs of their department, they should check with their supervisor.

If required to be at work or on-call, employees of the medical center with children should make plans for child care during the time that they may be at the medical center and also plan on being available a few hours on either side of their shift.

VUMC will have child care services for people whose children are currently enrolled in the program, as well as emergency childcare for those who need it in the event of a medical center emergency.

In addition to keeping extra staff on hand, VUMC will also have 72 hours worth of water, gas, and food to maintain operations in the event of any outages. In case of a power outage, electricity will be provided for 72 hours by the university emergency generator.

"If Y2K problems do arise in Nashville, we will be prepared to take care of patients comfortably for at least three days," said Robert K. Browning, director of Plant Operations.