Microsoft products are the industry standard for healthcare IT

30 May 2013
IT Industry Trends

Technology in the healthcare industry is developing and being implemented at an accelerated rate. Whether it's the use of new databases that include patient records or emerging medical devices that can be managed from a remote setting, healthcare offers a source of growing employment for IT professionals. 

In an article focusing on the emerging security threats the industry faces, Healthcare IT News noted that most medical devices use Microsoft Windows as their operating systems. For individuals that want to take advantage of the emerging career choices in this sector, participating in Microsoft training is necessary. 

Malware threats
The source noted that although viruses and malware are considered major threats to typical household computers, they are known to victimize hospitals as well. The main reason for rampant malware infections is often due to a lack of updated computers and servers. 

For example, Healthcare IT News cited the case of Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The institution was unable to properly update nearly 700 different hardware devices because officials were concerned that adaptations to the software and servers would violate regulations set up by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Legal compliance 
It's a widespread issue that many providers face today. Apart from stipulations provided by the Food and Drug Administration, IT managers in the healthcare field must comply with regulations contained in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH), according to ZDNet. 

However, securing IT platforms at hospitals as been made easier with the introduction of the Windows 8 operating system, the source noted. In general, the newest OS from Microsoft has been a major aid to the healthcare industry by helping to increase efficiency and mobility.

Enterprise applications accessible
CIO Magazine recently highlighted some of the best features within Windows 8 that are geared to the healthcare industry. With tablet usage becoming more popular for doctors, there has been a need for a mobile device that enables the use of some of the industry's enterprise applications, such as electronic health records (EHRs). The source indicated that Windows 8 now allows clinicians to access these vital applications on their tablets. 

Multiple windows
Windows 8 also lets doctors place more than one application on a tablet simultaneously. In many instances, physicians need to have access to several programs. Perhaps one is needed to input patients' vital readings while another may be necessary to place orders to nurses and other doctors regarding treatment regimens. This allows industry professionals to meet with multiple patients in a short amount of time, increasing efficiency. 

Encrypted security
CSO Online stated that an overhaul of how healthcare payments and records are addressed is needed, but was realistic regarding the small chance there is of that happening any time soon. For this reason, the source suggested that sophisticated encryption technology may be one of the best strategies IT professionals can implement into healthcare systems to increase security. Luckily, Windows 8 has made that possible. 

According to CIO Magazine, Microsoft has added several enterprise-level security features into the software. One such tool is BitLocker Drive Encryption which can help users encrypt all the files contained on a given hard drive. 

Security in the healthcare industry is incredibly important. To ensure that there is a high level of confidence in patient records management, hospital executives should provide Microsoft certification courses to IT workers. 

These classes can be taken online, which is extremely convenient for employees working in the ever busy healthcare world. Helping the IT staff increase their skill set will only be beneficial for hospital managers, so proper training is an affordable investment to make. 

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