What Does Microsoft Windows 10 Mean for Healthcare IT?
This article originally appeared on Sep. 30, 2015, and has been revised to bring our readers the most up-to-date technology information.
With Windows 10 being the most secure version of Windows ever, we continue to hear from our healthcare clients who want to know how Windows 10 meets the technical and administrative safeguards required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) which provides data privacy and security measures for individual personal health information.
Windows 10 offers an operating system that includes features tailored specifically for healthcare IT settings and clinicians. Among these benefits are increased security capabilities and familiarity.
“With Windows 10, we aim to meet and exceed the needs of health professionals so they can work more efficiently, improve care and extend the reach of clinical services beyond hospital walls. We listened to your feedback about Windows 7, 8 and 8.1, and we are confident Windows 10 will help drive mobile health forward,” Neil Jordan, Microsoft’s worldwide general manager for the health sector, wrote on the company’s blog.
According to Healthcare IT News, Microsoft’s goal is to upgrade systems currently running Windows 7 and 8 in the coming weeks, and follow that with Windows 10 Mobile later this year. Ultimately, Microsoft also intends Windows 10 to serve as the operating system for a range of Internet of Things devices, including its own Surface Hub conference systems and HoloLens holographic glasses.
Windows 10 is the most secure Windows system to date, responding to the demands for improved cybersecurity in healthcare. Data protection is central to the new system, and healthcare professions can replace traditional passwords with more secure options like biometrics or hardware-based, multi-factor credentials to better protect sensitive patient information.
The new Device Guard and Secure Boot serve to block outside attacks by limiting devices to trusted software. Credential Guard stores login credentials only in the hardware, adding another layer of protection.
Mobile health engagement
According to Microsoft, Windows 10 was created with health-centric functions designed to drive mobile health forward in order to extend the reach and improve the quality of patient care.
New features optimize apps in both touch and desktop modes, allowing healthcare providers to access Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems efficiently; interact with various devices; and connect with other providers regardless of location.
And the system will also have the ability to "snap together" apps, giving providers the ability to perform tasks like viewing a patient's EMR data right next to a home health app.
Healthcare providers also need ways to promote patient engagement, and Windows 10 helps there, too. The new platform connects new platforms and devices that will extend chronic disease management and long-term care to the home, allowing patients to more proactively manage their own wellness.
Integration with existing software and systems also provides healthcare professionals with the ability to connect with patients remotely via secure chat, test, video and voice options. Easy access and usability means patients will be encouraged to be more actively engaged with their healthcare at each point in their wellness journey.
Because Windows 10 is very familiar, Microsoft assures healthcare organizations will need little to no user training to upgrade from earlier versions of Windows.
Microsoft encourages health organizations to start evaluating, piloting and deploying Windows 10 today. Talk to an Insight specialist to see how IT administrators can test their business applications, or find support and training for the transition to Windows 10.