Staying on course with Windows 8

Navigating the choppy seas of health care is not for the faint of heart. A patient’s care can only stay on course if the captain and crew have reliable instruments.

Electronic health records (EHRs) are at the helm of healthcare delivery. EHRs pull together data to help doctors see trends sooner. To help patients avoid the rocks ahead.

One of the instruments that is growing in popularity today is Microsoft Windows 8. It’s hard to buy a new (non-Apple) laptop without it. This operating system offers some distinct benefits for healthcare enterprises.

Smoother sailing with easy-to-deploy technology

Windows 8 enables enterprises to use the same management tools they have in place today. Why does that matter? Think about a simple update to software. There’s the client side, and then there’s the server side. Both sides have to be in sync for the update to work properly.

When each part of the application comes from a different source, it can create a problem. If a user goes to an App Store to download the client side, then enterprises have to be prepared for users that make that trip too soon. They also have to be prepared for those users that don’t go at all.

What happens when the web server is on version 3 and the client devices are on version 2 or 4?

Windows 8 has solved this issue by enabling your Information Technology (IT) department to use the same tools they use today. They have the ability to push out new versions of the client applications while they are updating the server components of those applications.

And yes, there are tools that let IT departments manage this issue for Apple and Android – but they are new tools to purchase and learn.

Canoe or cruise ship? Flexibility is key

You wouldn’t paddle a canoe across an ocean or attempt to sail a cruise ship down a small river. One boat does not fit all waterways, and the same is true for technology. People are moving away from the “Swiss Army Knife” mindset. Meaning, we don’t expect that one device will do it all.

We prefer different devices depending on the task at hand. For example, I prefer my laptop over my tablet if I have a lot of typing to do. But I’ll grab my tablet when I have to sort through and delete emails. Personally, I like devices that do what they do very, very well.

Windows 8 supports this personal choice. It enables new approaches, such as the tablet that clicks into a keyboard when you need it.  It makes it easy to add on functionality with sleeves that hold card readers, RFID readers, barcode readers. You can tailor your device to your needs.

Staying on course with the right tools

The reality of the market (and large enterprises) is that users will continue to have iPads, laptops and Windows 8 devices. We’ll never have 100% or 0% in any of those categories.

Windows 8 is one of many tools that help steer care plans in the right direction. When a ship is off course – even by a single degree – we need to know soon enough to correct it. Or else we might end up in Cuba when we wanted to go to Bermuda. For a patient, early detection could mean the difference between a few simple lifestyle changes and frequent trips to the emergency room.

Does Windows 8 help you better navigate the choppy seas of health care? If so, how?


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About the author

Stanley Crane is Chief Innovation Officer for Allscripts. In his more than 30 years of healthcare and consumer-related software experience, he has led the development of award-winning software programs including electronic health record, electronic prescribing, web-based medication sales, online physician education, resource scheduling, financial systems, materials management, medical translation software and voice recognition dictation systems. Previous to his healthcare experience, Stanley was involved in Silicon Valley, where he held positions with many well-known software companies. As the General Manager of Lotus cc:Mail, he created the first remote mail products. He was also the Vice President of Engineering at WordStar International, and Director of Applications at Ashton-Tate, managing their Macintosh products as well as dBase IV. Before that, Stanley was a founder of two Internet startups – MaxMiles, an automated frequent flier mileage aggregator, for whom he built the first versions of the product; and Shopping@Home, a company that was acquired by Allscripts in 1999 to support medication sales.

14 COMMENTS on Staying on course with Windows 8


Bradley Miller says:

02/28/2014 at 1:04 pm

We utilize Allscripts Homecare product and are actively field testing Windows 8.1 tablets. The touch screen capability is a great advantage along with the price points. It gives you the best of both worlds, an iPad look and feel and a full blown laptop for any business related application requirements.

During our testing, we have found Allscripts Homecare client to not be very touch friendly. Are there any plans to develop a metro style client for Allscripts Homecare, or a more touch friendly version that will run on the desktop interface?

Stanley Crane says:

03/03/2014 at 5:24 pm

Allscripts is currently developing a mobile application for Homecare. In the process, we’ll optimize our solution for use on a tablet device. We are constantly challenging ourselves to come up with easier and faster ways of doing things.

In terms of “easy to use” — that means one of two things. Most people mean “Fast to learn” and that’s important for occasional use products (Amazon, eBay). But what we try to do is build products that are “Fast to use.” “Fast to learn” matters for a week or two, but “Fast to use” matters forever. So if there are two ways to do something, we try to pick the one with fewer clicks, fewer screens – that ultimately makes it faster for healthcare professionals to get their jobs done.

We hope that we are making our products “fast to use” for clients that use them frequently. If we are – please tell us. And if we’re not – please tell us that too. The best way to do that is through Client Connect (http://www.allscripts.com/en/client-login.html), which is a direct pathway to specific product development teams.


Daniel Hoopes, MD says:

07/29/2014 at 7:39 pm

I want to use Allscripts with my Microsoft Surface Pro 2, running Windows 8.1. The proposed solution I have seen is to run it in a Citrix environment. However, we also use Dragon Network Edition in our practice, which apparently does not work well in Citrix. So, I am stuck between two problems. I don’t want a Windows 8 “App,” I just want Allscripts to run natively on Windows 8, in the desktop mode. Has that not been accomplished? Can it be done using “Compatibility Mode?” Any tips? The other solution my IT department proposed was to get a “new” laptop. The whole point of my Surface is that it is a million times better than a laptop (touchscreen, digital pen, convertibility, and many more reasons), so I’m not going to give it up to go backwards. Ideas?

Stanley Crane says:

07/30/2014 at 12:01 pm

Dr. Hoopes — We have good news if your site uses our TouchWorks EHR. We have an application called “Wand for TouchWorks Powered by Windows”. It is a native Windows 8.1 application that we have up & running in several early adopter clients today. It has gotten great acceptance from our initial users.

It makes great use of touch, of semantic zoom to navigate the patient’s chart, speech, Bing maps, active tiles – we’re excited about it.

This emerging product is pre-GA. We would welcome additional early adopters to help us refine the code. If you are interested please let us know, you can download the app from the Windows Apps store (http://apps.microsoft.com/windows/en-us/app/allscripts-wand-for-touchworks/96f08cd0-bccd-42bf-87c7-3e669de85f62) and then contact Win8wandsupport@allscripts.com for activation.

We’d also be happy to have Intel or Microsoft provide you with some loaner devices for testing. If you will be at the Allscripts Client Experience (ACE) Aug. 12-15, come see Wand for Windows at the Emerging Innovations booth in The HUB.


Robert says:

08/30/2014 at 9:52 pm

Our company uses Touchworks EHR 11.4 and I have a new computer with Windows 8.1 Pro. I would like to continue using our software but Touchworks does not appear compatible with Windows 8.1. Short of switching to a different software (Wand for Touchworks) or downgrading to Windows 7, is there a solution for getting the current software working.


    Darnell McRae says:

    09/09/2014 at 8:16 am

    Robert, thank you for your question. I’ll be happy to reach out to you directly to discuss your specific situation and needs.


Abraham Salacata says:

09/17/2014 at 8:10 am

We use Allscripts Prosuite and find it difficult to access and use it with a MS Surface 3. Any suggestions?


    Linda Nicholas - Allscripts says:

    09/18/2014 at 1:17 pm

    Thanks for your question. We’ll reach out to you directly to see what we can do to improve your experience.


ssarkhosh@premierehealth.us says:

03/09/2015 at 8:01 am

We are also having a ton of problems with Allscripts and Surface Pro 3. After installing the apps I am able to run the app no problems, however the view of the window becomes so small that you literally need a magnifier to read anything within EHR and PM. Do you know anything that we could do?

Stanley Crane says:

03/11/2015 at 9:45 am

Here’s what I think may work for you:

Open Screen Resolution by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you’re using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering Make text larger in the search box, and then tapping or clicking Make text and other items larger or smaller.

Check the checkbox that says “Let me choose one scaling level for all my displays.”

When you do that, the “Custom sizing options” pops up. When you click, that, you can set the magnification to whatever level works for you. My hunch is 200-300% is probably about right.

Then click “Apply”

Once you change the setting, you will have to reboot your computer.

The Start menu won’t change its resolution – it will look exactly the same. But when you go to the desktop – then the resolution changes will be clear.


Sue says:

04/15/2015 at 1:14 pm

I have loaded Allscripts Pro 13.0 on our 4 Surface Pro 3 tablets & when in Clinical Module the print is so small we must use the magnifier. (I tried the above instructions & the print size did not change.) But the Admin, Input & Reporting modules are all fine when I go through Clinical Modile Launch. Another strange thing is yesterday & the day before, when a user got into Clinical, through her tablet, the print size was good. She asked what I had done &, thruth is, I hadn’t touched it. I then checked the other three tablets & the print was larger on them, also. Now today, the print is back to being small, on all four tablets. I am completely baffled.


Christopher lucas says:

07/18/2015 at 9:55 am

Upgrade to windows 8.1 professional
Solved most problems with my touchscreen tablet

There was a problem with a windows update
Kb3000850 I think that could not be uninstalled
I called Microsoft and after 4 hours figured out that is how to fix the problem


Clifford Young MD says:

08/02/2015 at 1:34 pm

I have been having trouble accessing ProSuite on my Microsoft Surface RT Windows 8.1 tablet. Every time after I log into the proSuite portal, I get a notification saying that activeX has not been enabled when it is enabled in the manage add-ons and I have even adjusted the Flash settings to allow allscripts to run. Any suggestions on getting the activeX “enabled” or the notification to go away so I can use the program?

Stanley Crane says:

08/03/2015 at 2:05 pm

What I think is missing is you haven’t given Win8 permission to install ActiveX controls, which I think ProSuite is trying to do.

Here’s what else I think that you would need to do:
• Click on the magnifying glass & search for “Services”
• Click on “View Local Services”
• (You should then get a list of services running on your computer)
• Close to the top, there should be one called “ActiveX Installer (AxInstSV)”
• (Probably set to Startup type “Manual”)
• Right click (or click & hold) and choose “properties”
• Change the startup type to “Automatic”
• And I would also click “Start”
• Then Apply & OK

(BTW, you will probably also have to adjust the magnification of the screen as well – you’ll know if the font & icons are very small.)

Please let me know what happens.


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