Change in Daylight Saving Time May Cause Medical Device Errors

Yael Waknine

Disclosures

March 05, 2007

March 5, 2007 — This year's change in the beginning and end of daylight saving time (DST) may adversely affect medical equipment that uses date and time information for diagnosis or treatment, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The new DST will begin 3 weeks earlier and end 1 week later this year.

Medical equipment that uses, creates, or records time or date information about a patient's diagnosis or treatment may register the wrong dates for the start and end of DST when the changes are implemented, according to an alert sent Friday from MedWatch, the FDA's safety information and adverse event reporting program.

The FDA notes that most devices currently in use are likely to be affected, unless they were manufactured after the DST change was approved (Energy Policy Act of 2005) or have been updated by the manufacturer.

Adverse effects associated with their use might include incorrect dose prescribing, dose administration at the wrong time, missed doses, extra doses, unintended increased/decreased duration of therapy, and incorrectly recorded treatment/diagnostic results.

Healthcare professionals are advised to check with manufacturers for available patches/fixes for medical devices, hospital networks, and associated information technology systems; the time on these products should be verified on each of the critical DST dates: March 11 (new start date), April 1 (old start date), October 28 (old end date), and November 4 (new end date). Vigilance should be exercised when making clinical decisions or using medical devices on these days.

Unpredictable medical device events or medical device–related problems related to DST should be reported to the manufacturer and to the FDA's MedWatch reporting program by phone at 1-800-FDA-1088, by fax at 1-800-FDA-0178, online at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch , or by mail to 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20852-9787.

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