Windows 8 Gets Its Foot in Healthcare's Door

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media , April 9, 2013

Pediatric Associates is in the process of building out its Windows 8 use cases. And because there are already 1,500 different systems running Windows 8—everything from traditional desktop PCs to futuristic all-in-one monitors and even "phablets" (combination phone plus tablet – and a horrible mutant word)—if anything, the design of future technology systems for healthcare is likely to be a creative art.

But I take heart that we are at least moving away from the consistently ugly user interfaces that EHR software exhibited as recently as a year ago. Designing for touch and gesture is making all EHR software designers clean up their act, and it's about time.

The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) phenomenon also seems to be settling down, as organizations such as Pediatric Associates deliberately plan for acquiring tablet-style technology, and doctors can get back to doing what they do best, rather than relying on their own devices and the nearest app store. There will be physicians who will cling to their iPads as part of that autonomy Young mentioned.

Where will Windows be when the Windows XP clock runs out next April? By then, Pediatric Associates expects to have a larger base of its pediatricians running Windows 8.

It will be interesting to see if they settle on one or two particular form factors, and are carrying just a single machine on rounds, or if a mix of desktops, laptops and tablets continues to make Windows a sometimes jarring experience, and from a workflow perspective, an overly complicated one.

Scott Mace is senior technology editor at HealthLeaders Media.
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