For Healthcare, Windows Picks a Bad Time for a Facelift
One irony of the greatest success in private EHR implementation, at Kaiser Permanente, is that all those systems are running Windows XP, a long-obsolete version of Windows.
Extended support for Windows XP is due to conclude on April 8, 2014—less than two years away. I would bet that security patches for XP will continue to be provided for several years after that. Meanwhile, the automatic Windows Update service, whose familiar, unwanted reminders pop up everywhere from PowerPoint presentations to billboards, will be cajoling XP users (and Vista users, and Windows 7 users) to upgrade version components stat. As more and more healthcare providers turn their screens around so patients can follow along with their EMRs during consults, those pop-ups won't inspire confidence in healthcare's digital future.
Our healthcare systems are becoming so sensitive to technological considerations that Microsoft might be well advised to stage a formal clinical trial of Windows 8. The good news is, as with all clinical trials, years would be needed to complete to prove its safety and efficacy. By then, we'd almost be ready for it.
Scott Mace is senior technology editor at HealthLeaders Media.
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