The Lost Time

Steve Jones, 2019-01-22

Last year when Daylight Savings Time moved clocks back, I was wondering how the time change might affect different devices and situations in the world. One area that I wondered about was medicate and health care devices. While I'm sure most (hopefully all) medical device software developers have thought about this, it was something that struck me this year as I was fighting a cold.

I was taking a medicine designed to help reduce the length of illness and was supposed to take this every four hours. That meant if I took this at 10pm, the next dose should be 2am. However, if I woke up at 2:10am, it would actually be 1:10am since the clocks would have moved back an hour. If my clock adjusted itself, then it would be 3:10am. Not a big deal for my dosage, but for some people, this might really matter.

Certainly software can adjust for this, but can we humans? If I'm dosed every four or six hours, common time frames, both me and my caregiver might get used to a schedule. We might assume that 7am, 11am, 3pm, 7pm is the schedule. We know that 7, 11, 3 repeat throughout the day. Daylight savings time changes that. Once the clock resets, I need to move to 2, 6, 10 the next day. Or to 1, 5, 9 depending on the time of year. It would be easy for someone to think they'd missed a dose and double dose, or assume that medicine was given last out and skip a dose.

What about sales transactions? I'm sure this is a slow time of the day and year, but still, I'll get a skewed view of that hour. Either zero sales or double sales. What about auditing? Is this the perfect time to break into a system or perhaps game the tracking of events? If I came and went from a facility during the hour in question, could I leave before I arrived? How could we actually capture a true audit record here?

Daylight Savings Time might have been a good idea at some point, but these days I think it's silly and causes more potential issues than it solves problems. I'd like to see it go away and have us stick to some consistent schedule throughout the year. Standard time, savings time, split the difference. I'm fine with anything, just don't arbitrarily move my clock during the year.

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