American College of Physicians: Internal Medicine — Doctors for Adults ®

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New OIG study: physicians finally preparing for Y2K

From the May 1999 ACP-ASIM Observer, copyright 1999 by the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine.

Despite recent indications that show health care lagging when it comes to preparing computers for the year 2000, physicians finally appear to be making progress in getting ready for Y2K problems.

According to a report from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), 90% of the physicians surveyed have at least thought about how Y2K problems could affect their practice. This represents a substantial improvement over an earlier report from a Senate special committee, which found that a large number of physicians were unprepared for Y2K issues.

The bad news is that while 80% of the physicians surveyed in the latest OIG report have assessed the Y2K readiness of their billing and financial systems, about 40% still do not have a Y2K compliant billing/financial system. Even worse, nearly 10% of the physicians surveyed said that their billing and financial systems will not be Y2K compliant by the end of the year. Smaller numbers of physicians have addressed potential problems with electronic medical records and biomedical equipment. (For more details, see the OIG report, "Y2K Readiness of Medicare Providers" )

To help members prepare for the Y2K issues, ACP-ASIM has developed a Y2K Web page offering practical advice. The site offers strategies to help get practices Y2K compliant, tips for choosing Y2K compliant practice software and links to other Y2K resources. It also features "Selecting A Software System," a guide created by the College's Center For A Competitive Advantage (CCA).

If you don't have access to the Web, you can get a copy of the CCA's Y2K Toolkit, which includes the information found on the Web, from ACP-ASIM Customer Service. (Because information on the Web site is updated more regularly than print materials, members are being urged to access the electronic version if possible.) To get a free copy of the Y2K Toolkit, call ACP-ASIM Customer Service at 800-523-1546, ext. 2600, or 215-351-2600 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m., EST). Ask for product number 410100190.

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