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iPad a slam dunk for healthcare? Not so fast, Windows 8 has unique advantages

by David Needle

November 30 2012


Rounds (shown above) is a new Windows 8 prototype app developed by Microsoft for healthcare professionals.

The iPad has made huge inroads into healthcare, regularly touted as a handy tool for doctors, hospitals and healthcare professionals because of its portability, easy interface, and long battery life -- among other features, including a growing set of relevant apps.

But it’s hardly game over. Competing tablets that offer lower cost (primarily Android), different form factors and other features certainly have a shot at making inroads with doctors and healthcare facilities.

Denise Amrich, a registered nurse and health care advisor for the U.S. Strategic Perspective Institute, goes so far as to say that Windows 8 tablets might, in some cases, be more appropriate to healthcare than iOS or Android devices.

In an opinion column at ZDNet, Amrich notes security is a top priority when it comes to healthcare computing. 

“From a defensive perspective, the cost -- from both a legal and PR point of view -- of a major breach (or even a comparatively minor HIPAA or HITECH violation) could be extensive. From a patient care perspective, we want patients to know that their records are being kept as secure as possible,” she says.

Her argument in favor of Windows 8 states in part:

“Windows 8, like Windows 7 before it, integrates beautifully with Windows server technologies. Windows 8 adds additional security features and works smoothly with Exchange, SharePoint, Windows 2008 and Windows 2012 Server. Of particular interest to healthcare professionals, Windows 8 also supports Microsoft Lync secured messaging, so IM messages that go between medical professionals can be both instant and rock-solid secure.”

And while Apple is widely recognized as a leader in user interface, Amrich notes that Windows 8 Live Tiles interface provides an at-a-glance update into many of the details a medical professional might need to know.

Amrich also notes though that Apple has already built on its early lead with the iPad by extending the line with the iPad Mini which, unlike any Windows 8 device currently shipping, can easily fit in a lab coat. 

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