Sunday, June 10, 2012

This Article Makes A Really Interesting Point And I Wonder What The Impact Will Be? Messy I Suspect.

Every now and again I see an article that provides real food for thought. The following is definitely one of those.

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.
It's all very inspired by the success of the iPad, itself a radical rethink on the old Macintosh user interface. Apple doesn't officially support the iPad with a mouse, although at the recent American Telemedicine Conference, I saw a variety of iPads paired with third-party keyboards and even a few mice to recreate that PC experience.
Metro still retains the mouse when running on desktops, but it's the "Windows 8" name that will cause healthcare (and many users in general) the most grief. As of last Saturday, purchasers of systems with the current Windows 7 installed are eligible to upgrade to Windows 8 for less than $15.
Generally these upgrades are a headache for all of IT. It's usually better to start with a fresh system. I wish Microsoft would dispense with the whole idea of upgrading from one OS to another. There's a history of bad experiences.
Lots more here:
This change to the user interface is, I suspect going to be a bit messy. This will especially be the case in the transition phase - which will take years at least - and while people find themselves using both. Remember the time it took for move from the green alpha numeric screens to the initial versions of Windows and the Macintosh interfaces with a graphical interface, mouse and so on.
Given the efforts the UK NHS undertook to make sure the older Windows Interface was clinically usable and safe one wonders if any work has been done on the METRO interface.
At first look it does not look all that intuitive. Just how things like cut and paste and drop down menus are handled will be important as well.
As someone said ‘Toto, I don’t think we are in Kansas anymore!’

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