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Y2K has long term benefits for hospital and health

HOSPITAL and health services will reap longer term benefits from their efforts
to become Y2K compliant, says Ministry of Health Y2K project manager Steve
Brazier.

"While it has taken much work on the part of hospital and health services, every
service now has a updated effective business plan for managing emergencies," Mr
Brazier said.

"It has been a good test of project management skills, and has resulted in
services carrying out comprehensive audits and reviews of their processes."

Mr Brazier said some had identified where they could optimise resource use
during the "top to bottom and bottom to top review".

"For example, some found they were lighting an empty area or using electricity
unnecessarily. Positive change was in some cases made immediately as a result of
the work, done primarily to help them prepare for Y2K.

"The audit of medical equipment to ensure it was Y2K compliant meant a total
stocktake and ensures more than ever that the services now know their machines
inside-out after extensive testing.

"And the cost has not been as large as predicted. On average only about 4 per
cent of medical equipment failed Y2K tests and needed to be fixed or replaced.
None of the equipment which failed would have affected patient safety."

Mr Brazier said services had continued their practice of cooperating to share
their experiences and making positive suggestions to help others. Already
established national and international support networks were strengthened as a
result, he said.

"More than ever, the public can now be confident of their health services
knowledge of processes and equipment and that they will handle an emergency
competently," he said.

ENDS

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