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For Healthcare, Windows Picks a Bad Time for a Facelift

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, June 5, 2012

It's all very inspired by the success of the iPad, itself a radical rethink on the old Macintosh user interface. Apple doesn't officially support the iPad with a mouse, although at the recent American Telemedicine Conference, I saw a variety of iPads paired with third-party keyboards and even a few mice to recreate that PC experience.

Metro still retains the mouse when running on desktops, but it's the "Windows 8" name that will cause healthcare (and many users in general) the most grief. As of last Saturday, purchasers of systems with the current Windows 7 installed are eligible to upgrade to Windows 8 for less than $15.

Generally these upgrades are a headache for all of IT. It's usually better to start with a fresh system. I wish Microsoft would dispense with the whole idea of upgrading from one OS to another. There's a history of bad experiences.

However you get Windows 8, if you're used to the Windows you know and love/hate, you're in for a disruptive transition. Windows 8 removes the "start" button in the lower-left corner, replacing it with a Charm Bar that's invisible until you drag your pointer via mouse or touch to the top or bottom of the screen (or press Control-C if you're a real geek).

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2 comments on "For Healthcare, Windows Picks a Bad Time for a Facelift"


Shawn Huecker (6/6/2012 at 11:11 AM)
Putting a lid on innovation is rarely a prescription for success.

Richard (6/5/2012 at 3:27 PM)
As you point out in your article, there's never a "good" time to release a new version - and Windows certainly needs a new version to compete in the new touch-based tablet world of the future. HOWEVER, I'd like to point out that (in my opinion) most healthcare organizations won't be upgrading any time soon. In my 20 years of experience with IT and 7 years in Healthcare IT, I've noticed that only a handful of organizations stay on the cutting edge. The rest are cautiously watching and waiting to see how it goes. As you point out, Kaiser is still using WinXP! And there are major EMR vendors which have yet to formally support Windows 7 - this I know from first hand experience. I think we will see early adoption of Windows8 within the IT departments of healthcare organizations and with some of the more adventurous, but non-clinical, staff. But for now, at least for my organization, we will stay right where we are at - and wait and see. You give food for thought, but I don't think the sky is falling... yet. We still have a few years left with WindowsXP, so we can use the time to plan our exodus to Windows8. In the meantime we will watch as other organizations deploy Win8 and see how it works out for them.