’Twas the night before Y2K . . .

As the night grew older on New Year’s Eve, Americans watched in anticipation as, country by country, the world moved into the year 2000. Fortunately, there were no major computer-related Y2K glitches. Hospital workers were particularly grateful for the smooth move into the year 2000, although much planning and preparation went into making that transition smooth.

Pat Minard, RPh, FASHP, manager of Pharm acy Services at Shawnee Mission Medical Center and St. Luke’s South, both of Shawnee Mission, KS, describes the preparation at his institutions: "For all equipment and software dependent on dates, we obtained written verification from vendors that they had tested their products and that the products had tested correctly for the rollover into 2000.

"We personally tested Pyxis, Baxa, and Cerner by running the dates forward to dates in 2000," he continues. "Updates in software were made for Pyxis and payroll, and many PCs were upgraded to faster-running programs. All of these are changes we would have made sooner or later."

Minard estimates that approximately 200 person hours were spent during 1999 toward this end, plus a minimal amount of money toward software upgrades.

Then, on New Year’s Eve, all managers in patient-related roles had to be at each hospital by 10 p.m. to start testing equipment and software. "We tested everything from phones, faxes, and pagers to software and computers every hour until 2 a.m.," explains Minard.

Minard is pleased that drug delivery was uninterrupted at his institutions with the move into the year 2000 and that contingency plans did not have to be acted upon.

He adds, "The contingency plans we put in place will remain there for any kind of disaster that might occur in the future. I don’t consider the Y2K preparation unnecessary. In fact, because of that preparation, we will be much better able to handle other disruptions, as they might occur in the future."