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For Healthcare, Windows Picks a Bad Time for a Facelift

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, June 5, 2012

Of course healthcare EMR vendors will be developing Windows 8 front-ends to their systems throughout this year and especially next, and I don't envy their job. Certain ways of using EMRs will have to change, just as they have with iPad versions of those systems. This complicates training, as it won't be practical or even necessarily possible for a healthcare provider to suddenly swap out desktop and laptop deployments for touch-based ones. The new user interfaces look promising, but they are a radical rethink.

In a year when so many providers will be struggling to complete their first year of Meaningful Use implementation, those Windows 8 systems trickling in will seem like a very unwelcome annoyance. But some of those Windows 8 users are bound to be in executive suites. Good luck convincing your Windows-loving CEO that he can't have his Windows anymore or that his executive dashboard can't be made to work with Windows 8.

I should say here that Microsoft is to be commended for trying to modernize the Windows user interface. The company just picked the absolute worst time to do it as far as healthcare is concerned. But with the continuing revolutions in healthcare tech, maybe there would never be a best time.

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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.