Some Considerations for Windows XP Users

by Rick Clayton

On April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer offer any kind of support for Windows XP. Microsoft's operating system was a bit of a breakthrough for them, acting as a kind of bridge between the earlier versions of Windows (e.g. 95/98) to the later versions (e.g. Vista/7). Released in 2001, it is reliable and can handle most business applications you would need. This fact has caused many healthcare practices to stick with it, even though it is twelve years old. It's a good operating system. Why upgrade if you don't need to?

Furthermore, some applications we use may not yet be compatible with Windows 7; some may never be. And these applications could be intrinsic to our daily needs. Upgrading to a later operating system could be counter-productive in such a scenario.

However, this poses some problems for those of you in the healthcare industry: Once Microsoft no longer supports Windows XP, this means that security updates will cease. And so, practices using Windows XP will become vulnerable to malware threats from the bad guys out in cyberspace. And I would not be surprised if these bad guys tried to take advantage of those holdouts using an operating system that is known to be unprotected. In fact, I expect it.

This presents a situation where workstations and laptops running Windows XP will become non-compliant. HIPAA Security Rule section 164.308(a)(5)(ii)(B) instructs you to implement "procedures for guarding against, detecting, and reporting malicious software." If you cannot update your software, you cannot comply with this mandate.

So what do you do? We recommend your IT department does a thorough analysis of your network, identifying any vulnerabilities. This is required for meaningful use — as well as HIPAA-compliance — anyway. Then look at upgrading your systems or making other changes as needed.

April of 2014 will be here before you know it. Perhaps you're concerned about the compatibility of the software you're currently running with newer operating systems. While I can't speak for the requirements of other applications you use, I can tell you that InphoniteVoice 2012 is fully Windows 7 compatible. And getting you up and going with InphoniteVoice on the new operating system is pretty easy. Feel free to contact our Support Department with questions.

This article was taken from the September, 2013 edition of our Technical Support Newsletter.

Lauren Gramlich