Gartner says US health care industry lags on Y2K

Nearly seven of every eight US health care organizations risk experiencing year 2000 system failures, according to Gartner Group, Inc. in Stamford, Conn.

Gartner said health care lags most other industries in year 2000 compliance. It found that while 70% of companies in all industries have moved beyond the initial phase of the problem and begun assessing potential millennium land mines in their systems, a whopping 87% of health care organizations are still in the initial phase.

Gartner cited year 2000 as the No. 1 information technology issue in health care this year. At this week's annual conference of the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society in Orlando, Fla., it released what it called the industry's "Top 10" IT issues for 1998.

Among other issues were the following:

- Reducing the information systems budget may not necessarily cut costs for the entire organization -- some costs could shift to other departments.

- Health care organizations should, during the next two years, consider value-added network (VAN) intranets as their first choice to provide information services to loosely affiliated partners using Web browers. Gartner said VANs compare favorably to the Internet in terms of security, reliability and quality of service.

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