Let me be perfectly honest. At some level, an operating system is just an operating system. Whether you hang out in the C-suite, in the IT department, on the ward, or in the operating room; you just want your computer to work. Having said that, I think anyone who truly enjoys computing as I do and how the personal computer helps us do our work (communicate, collaborate, locate the information we need, improve clinical practice, patient safety and the quality of patient care) will simply love working with Windows 7. Why?
Windows 7 just works better. And there are some features and functions that make our newest operating system especially compelling for the health industry. I’ve been using the beta and release candidates of Windows 7 for several months now. My experience, from installing it on multiple machines to using it at work and at home, has been nothing but satisfying.
Like anyone else, I prefer a desktop that is visually pleasing to use. Windows 7 is extraordinarily fluid in the way it moves between applications, and provides real-time thumbnail views of all my open applications. The graphics are simply stunning. The eye candy will please you every time you fire up your machine. But pretty is only skin deep. What else will excite you?
Enterprise users will find a lot to like. With DirectAccess, Windows 7 makes it easy to connect to corporate resources without going through a Virtual Private Network. Windows BitLocker™ protects sensitive data (which is just about everything in healthcare) on internal and external drives while advanced network backup and Encrypted File System also protect sensitive data. BranchCache™ decreases the time remote workers need to open files running on the corporate network. AppLocker helps IT staff prevent unauthorized software from running on corporate machines. Tablet PC users will enjoy significantly improved hand-writing recognition. Like many physicians my hand writing is terrible, but Windows 7 is truly amazing in its ability to recognize my scribble. It also learns. The recognition gets better and better the more I use it. The same is true for voice recognition. I just talk to my machine and it does what I want, from opening applications to dictating a letter.
Multi-language user support comes built in. Windows 7 also dramatically increases color support for applications (diagnostic, microscopic, etc.) where more accurate color rendition is critical. The new OS also supports Touch and MultiTouch for a coming generation of machines and screens that will enable vast improvements in the ways we interact with images, graphics, and applications. There are new drivers to support both physical and role-based sensors (like RFID, USID) and new “PlayTo” streaming media capabilities as well as improved support of various media formats. Developers and IT managers will also appreciate improved support for virtualization and federated search capabilities.
Windows 7—A Healthy Choice for Healthcare.
Bill Crounse, MD Senior Director, Worldwide Health Microsoft