[tz] Epic fail for DST fallback in hospital health records

Paul Eggert eggert at cs.ucla.edu
Sun Nov 4 05:54:18 UTC 2018

Sydney Lupkin reports in today's Kaiser Health News that Epic Systems, a leading 
system used for hospital health records, cannot handle DST fallbacks such as 
Sunday's fallback in the US. Lupkin writes:

'Carol Hawthorne-Johnson, an ICU nurse in California, said her hospital doesn’t 
shut down the Epic system during the fall time change. But she’s come to expect 
that the vitals she enters into the system from 1 a.m. to 2 a.m. will be deleted 
when the clock falls back to 1 a.m. One hour’s worth of electronic 
record-keeping “is gone,” she said.'

Apparently competing systems have similar problems. Lupkin writes that many 
hospitals plan for Cerner (another major system) to be down after a DST fallback 
as well.

Dr. Steven Stack, past president of the American Medical Association, said these 
DST glitches are "unacceptable", considering that Apple and Google seem to have 
dealt with seasonal time changes long ago. Although Lupkin didn't say so, credit 
should be given to the design for the Unix operating system that is the basis 
for these successes of Apple and Google, as Unix standardized on UTC in the 
early 1970s; apparently Epic and Cerner (both founded 1979) did not get the message.

The moral of this story seems to be: arrange for your medical emergencies to 
occur some time other than early Sunday in the US.


Lupkin S. Like Clockwork: How Daylight Saving Time Stumps Hospital Record 
Keeping. Kaiser Health News. 2018-11-03. 

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