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Windows 8 Gets Its Foot in Healthcare's Door

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, April 9, 2013

One clue to understanding this is to note that while the iPad has become the darling of healthcare, many of these iPads are actually running Windows software throughout the day, through virtualization software from companies such as Citrix. That pattern was prominent in my recent cover story about tablet computers.

The Citrix experience, however, as compelling as it can be, is not the immersive tablet experience. Software written natively for the tablet is more responsive, and utilizes the multi-touch tablet interface and gestures in ways that older Windows software cannot.

Electronic health record software has to get more intuitive, and the answer is not simply to count the clicks on older software and try to reduce that click count while clinging to keyboards and mice.

The Apple approach was to go 100 percent to touch, but being Apple, there were design decisions that worked against the interest of information technology executives. Of greatest concern to healthcare, Apple has yet to provide that management with a granular enough way to manage deployment and upgrades to applications through its App Store.

This gives Microsoft and others lots of room and time to copy some of the better ideas from the iPad, just as years ago it copied the user interface of the Macintosh. Despite a flurry of litigation and threats, Apple hasn't been able to keep competitors from implementing most of the slicker concepts of the iOS user interface.

The final advantage Apple had maintained was that it had captured the imagination of developers. But a recent survey of 450 software developers revealed that more than two-thirds identified Microsoft as the platform most relevant to their development plans.

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