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Could Windows 10 revolutionise healthcare?

Microsoft recently launched its new operating system Windows 10. This new operating system was designed by the Company to succeed previous systems 7 and 8 in order to realise its ‘One Windows’ strategy – in which Microsoft envisions a world where smartphones, tablets and PCs are united through a one cross-compatible operating system1.       

As the operating system launched, Microsoft wrote a blog* to highlight how Windows 10 can benefit various healthcare organisations such as NHS and private hospitals, doctor surgeries and pharmacies.

*“With Windows 10, we aim to meet and exceed the needs of health professionals so that they can work more efficiently, improve care and extend the reach of clinical services beyond hospital walls.” (Microsoft 2015)   

What are the benefits of Windows 10 for health professionals?

Microsoft’s blog highlighted the following features of Windows 10 as benefits for healthcare organisations and their staff2:

Mobility and productivity within the health environment – New features such as ‘Continuum’, which allows you to optimise your apps across touch and desktop modes, combined with the familiar start menu, task bar and desktop will allow ‘care teams’ to fluidly interact with each other wherever they are and whatever device they are using and will allow them to easily access electronic medical records. Microsoft says this feature could benefit intensive care units, health visitors and social care organisations.      

Improving security and privacy – The Information Commissioners Office warned at the start of 2015 that cyber-attacks and ID theft could increase as patient data and medical records are made digital and accessible online3. Microsoft boasts that its new operating system is its most secure and will allow health professionals such as doctors or nurses to replace passwords with securer options such as biometrics i.e. identification via a fingerprint or eye scan. Other features such as ‘Device Guard’ and ‘Secure Boot’ can help health organisations such as the NHS to block attacks by only allowing devices to run trusted software.      

Improving communicationand engagement – The new operating system has been designed to integrate with existing systems and software to include more secure voice, chat, text and video, enabling doctors to interact with patients through their smartphone or tablet wherever they are. By connecting new devices and platforms i.e. Microsoft Band and Microsoft Health, long-term care and chronic disease management could be extended to the home; meaning patients could manage their health and wellbeing from the comfort of their own home.

Will the healthcare industry embrace Windows 10?

According to NHS (Patients and Information Director) Tim Kelsey the NHS could run out of money if it doesn’t improve its use of data and information and adopt digital tools4.  

He said, “There is a huge public appetite for digital, but in healthcare we encounter almost none of it. 76 percent of the population use the internet but only two percent of us have ever engaged digitally with the NHS. We’ve got to change that.” (Tim Kelsey 2014)

With 85% of the NHS computers still running its older operating system Windows XP in 20145 and a deal with Microsoft to extend its support, it is unclear whether the NHS and the healthcare industry will embrace Windows 10. What is clear is the fact advancements in technology such as Microsoft and its vision of a world where mobile devices and desktops are united under one cross-compatible operating system could change healthcare both within the NHS and private healthcare to be more effective. MP and former Secretary of State for Health, Stephen Dorrell said: "The use of modern technology, information technology, allows a change in the relationship between patients and healthcare," he said. "It should enable healthcare to be much more effective."6 Find out more about how technology is changing healthcare here.

Customer OnLine

Here at Health-on-Line we are always looking into new ways in which we can support you digitally throughout your ‘health’ journey. One of the ways we have simplified this is by providing the online functionality to view policy documents and make a claim via Customer Online, a portal which is accessible to all Health-on-Line customers.

My hospitals

As well as providing you with access to important documents you can find your nearest hospital covered under the Health For You policy by simply entering your postcode into our ‘Private Hospital Locater’.

Sources:

1. Fool – What Microsoft’s Windows 10 means for mobile healthcare

2. Microsoft – Improve quality and extend reach of patient care with Windows 10

3. V3 – Hackers will target online NHS medical data warns ICO

4. Computer World UK – NHS must improve use data or go bust, health boss warns

5. The Telegraph – Government pays Microsoft £5.5m to extend Windows XP support

6. Computing – Mobile technology represents future of NHS healthcare, agree former Labour and Conservative health ministers

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