Microsoft posts Windows 10 for medical devices

Software giant puts another piece of its “One Windows” strategy into the puzzle with Windows 10 IoT Core release
By Tom Sullivan
02:42 PM

When Microsoft made Windows 10 widely available at July's end, the company foretold subsequent versions for both mobile and Internet of Things, or IoT, devices.

Two weeks later, amid a smattering of post-release concerns about the operating systems' privacy, security and stability, Microsoft posted Windows 10 IoT Core with less fanfare than the broader OS.

That's to be expected. Windows 10 Core is, after all, a niche release specifically geared toward developers writing apps for small devices – some will, others won't, have screens. Indeed, the healthcare industry is literally peppered with devices that run any number of embedded operating systems, from ECG, ultrasound, X-Ray, CT and MRI machines, to the ever-expanding fleet of wearables and fitness trackers, not to mention robotics. 

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[See also: What healthcare IT shops need to know now about Windows 10.]

With the Windows 10 for desktops, notebooks and tablets release, Microsoft added a number of features for healthcare, including tools that enable clinicians to view an EMR alongside a home health app, business intelligence functions for visualizing quality of care data, and a so-called Power Map for combining a healthcare provider's information with population health statistics.

New to Windows 10 IoT Core is support for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. While they may seem basic enough features for any OS, Wi-fi and Bluetooth will be integral to the company's stated goal of having "One Windows" that enables customers to sync apps and data across any device running an iteration of Windows 10. The next key piece: Windows 10 Mobile, due later this year.  

It's not just the simple matter of making all the appropriate versions of Windows 10 available, of course. PC, laptop, smartphone and medical device manufacturers need to test, install and deploy them. And that is likely to take a while.

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