Unless you’ve been living under a technology-insulated rock, you’re probably aware that Microsoft recently released the newest version of the company’s operating system, Windows 10. What you may have missed, however, was Microsoft’s pitch that this new version is designed to “meet and exceed the needs of health professionals.” This position was explained in an article by Neil Jordan, General Manager of Health Worldwide for Microsoft.
Citing factors including mobile medicine and electronic medical records (EMR), Jordan highlights three benefits of Windows 10. First is the increasing importance of computers in modern healthcare, which also means providing mobile access to information and resources. Windows 10 is designed for desktop and mobile systems, and because so many people are already familiar with other versions, it should be easy for organizations to adopt the newest version. Jordan also that technology is making it easier for healthcare professionals to engage with patients and caregivers, using voice, text, and video. Windows 10 will make it easier to extend these communication lines to patients in their own home, helping individuals be more proactive partners in managing their own health.
The point that stood out for me, however, was Jordan’s assertion that Windows 10 is “the most secure Windows ever.” It supports biometric alternatives to passwords and multi-factor authorization for access to applications and data. This sounds good, but after 30+ years covering the computing industry, I have developed a healthy skepticism for any superlative claims. I know some of my colleagues in the technology press would point out that it would not take much to be the “most secure” version of Windows.
Taking a more generous perspective, however, I view Microsoft’s claims in a positive light; security is one of the most serious concerns involved in expanding the use of computing in clinical settings and in working with user-generated data from wearable Health Tech devices. A lot is at stake here, and security must be “baked into” the most fundamental levels of all connected hardware and software, especially when it’s used for healthcare applications. So while it remains to be seen how well Microsoft can deliver on its promise, I applaud the acknowledgement of the problem and I wish them success in providing a safe and secure platform for healthcare professionals and consumers.