Remember back to 2014 when you had to upgrade from Windows XP to ensure your medical practice’s data was secure and others couldn’t break into your system?
For many medical practices, the upgrade came down to the wire and the rush complicated state and federal reporting requirements. The point is: most of you walked away from that experience saying “Never again!” to putting off a critical upgrade.
Well, it’s upon you again because – among the big technology changes that are coming in 2020 – Microsoft is ending support for Windows 7 and Server 2008 as of January 14, 2020.
Compliance and your billing systems will always be a top technology concern, but many of you now also have to deal with:
- Meaningful use
- An increase in reporting requirements
- Compatibility with EMR platforms
- Theft and ransom of your patients’ identities and health information
The Microsoft Windows 7 “end of life” on January 14, 2020 affects medical practices on every one of these points. That’s why it’s going to be especially important to approach this essential upgrade proactively.
The thing that will probably be most apparent to office managers about Windows 7 as of January 14, 2020 is that Microsoft will no longer issue those frequent updates and patches. Even though those patches are annoying, they offer essential security for your systems and patients.
Hackers are constantly developing new bits of code called malware to find a way past your computer’s defenses. The Microsoft patches act as booster shots for your computer’s immune system. The longer you go without them the more vulnerable your practice is to a breech and all of the costly consequences that come along with it.
Because of these very real security risks, many Electronic Medical Records (EMR) platforms require you to keep your operating systems current. Often, they will not provide support to computers that haven’t received the upgrade and will not allow you to log into the EMR on
Here’s a list of the leading EMR platforms so you can confirm your compatibility requirements:
- OMS Vision
You will find an additional list of EMR platforms at the end of this article.
Like most of the challenges that your patients face every day, the most important thing is to acknowledge that change is happening. All you can do is choose how you face it.
As with the many changes that medical practices have faced in recent years, the best way to deal with Windows end of life is to face it head-on and schedule your upgrade now. By being proactive you will:
- Minimize the disruption of any system downtime
- Budget for related expenses
- Educate your providers about the changes
The key to getting started is to choose a qualified, experienced specialist.
With a knowledgeable Managed Service Provider (MSP) as your trusted partner, upgrading your systems will be several notches lower on the 0-10 Scale of IT Pain Severity. These are the key steps that an experienced MSP will guide you through:
- Review your computers operating systems to identify which need to be upgraded
- Determine which, if any, computers need their hardware improved in order to run the new operating system
- Schedule the upgrades according to your practice’s workflow to reduce disruption of providers and patients
Tekmanagement has been a trusted IT partner to medical practices throughout Southern Oregon for 35 years. That experience has taught us that supporting medical practices is about more than just ‘doing business’ – it’s a matter of real people – your patients – and their privacy and wellbeing now and into the future.
We are currently scheduling medical practices for their upgrades between April and December 2019. We are deploying our large team of IT professionals to best accommodate those times your practice may be off during the week or closed for vacations or holidays.
The big IT changes of 2020 are coming but you still have time to be proactive. To schedule your upgrade, contact us online or call us at 541-779-4777. We’ll schedule your upgrade for a time it’s most convenient for you and ensure you have uninterrupted service.
More EMR Platforms