For Healthcare, Windows Picks a Bad Time for a Facelift

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media , June 5, 2012

By my calculations, 2013 will be one of the trickiest years in tech since Y2K.

Why? Not because of EHRs, HIEs, or the other technology acronyms so familiar to healthcare executives. The biggest reason is the release of Windows 8, Microsoft's most radical rethink of Windows since Windows 95.

Windows remains the dominant OS in healthcare institutions, as at most organizations. The new interface-lift is expected as early as fall 2012, to be followed by a long period of upgrades and retraining. Gone will be the familiar overlapping windows and pull-down menus so familiar to Windows users since way, way back. (I used Windows 3.0 back in 1990, so I'm a longtime menu puller-downer.)

Replacing this will be the radically new Metro user interface, where applications are tiled but not overlapping, where menus and mouse movements give way largely to gestures and touch-driven commands to make applications maximize, minimize, and do cool stuff.

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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.




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