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For Healthcare, Windows Picks a Bad Time for a Facelift

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, June 5, 2012

I understand why aesthetically Microsoft has to remove the Start button, but this is going to cause no end of grief when it comes to retraining users comfortable with Windows 7 or earlier versions. Now couple this with the trend permitting healthcare staff to bring their own devices to work, a trend accelerated by the iPad. More and more of those devices in 2013 will be running Windows 8, as Microsoft starts leaning on computer makers to ship Windows 8 as the default operating system. Based on a marketing blitz, those BYODers who don't get Windows 8 will start mailing in those $15 coupons for the upgrade.

It gets worse. There will be a version of Windows 8 for tablet computers running the ARM processor. But those tablets will only run new-style Metro applications. Older Win32 pull-down-menu applications won't even run on those tablets, but they will run on tablets powered by Intel processors. I'm not saying those applications will look good or run well on tablets, but some will and some won't. Did I mention that all these different operating systems are called "Windows"? Are you confused yet?

It's all good news for the iPad, in my opinion. At HealthLeaders Media, our coverage of the iPad in healthcare attracts huge readership numbers. But there are so many Windows users out there, and so many devices running Windows, that there is bound to be some grassroots adoption of Windows 8 in healthcare.

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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.