This year, North America's daylight savings time starts 3 weeks earlier than usual. In addition to other inconveniences, a serious one is the probable malfunctioning of medical devices, which are chronologically dependent.
Health Canada has issued warnings not only to individuals that own or are dependent on such devices, but also to hospitals that rely on time dependent and network information systems.
The advisories voice their concern about the effect on day light savings on such devices, though they admit they do not know exactly how these machines will be affected.
The Food and Drug Administration of U.S warns, 'While we do not know which specific devices might be affected, FDA is concerned about medical devices or medical device networks that operate together or interact with other networked devices, e.g. where a synchronization of clocks may be necessary.''
The agency suggests that a medical device or device network that is adversely affected by the earlier start (and later end) of daylight savings time could produce patient treatment that is incorrectly prescribed or administered at the wrong time, as well as missed or repeated doses, medications that are given for longer or shorter durations than intended or even erroneous medication records.
'Any of these unpredictable events could harm patients and not be obvious to clinicians responsible for their care', the agency adds.
The solution the agency offers is that individuals check their medical devices to see if they use or display time.
If they do, they are advised to contact the device's manufacturer to see if a patch is needed to update the software.