Windows 7 support is ending.  What does that mean for Critical Access Hospitals & Medical Facilities

Windows 7 support is ending.  What does that mean for Critical Access Hospitals & Medical Facilities?

Windows announced in 2019, support for Windows 7 will be ending.  As of January 14th, 2020, Windows 7 will no longer be supported by Microsoft, on security updates or support for PCs running Windows 7. The solution is upgrading your current operating system to Windows 10.

What about HIPAA Compliance, is it still possible with Windows 7?

Yes, you can still achieve compliance, even if you’re using Windows 7 now.  However, after January 14th 2020 it will NOT be possible to reach.  Having a single Windows 7 computer on your network at the time will be an immediate violation of HIPAA regulations. Updates for any new security holes on Windows 7 will not be serviced by Microsoft after that date.

Many Covered Facilities are still using Windows 7 and migrating heavy numbers of all your current computers will require time and planning, with the objective to complete the migration before attesting for Meaningful Use. Which leads us to the next thought…

Windows 7 and no Meaningful Use

Covered Facilities will need to seriously understand the implications which Meaningful Use requires that any Covered Entities also attest they are HIPAA compliant.  Covered Facilities using a Windows 7 computers or operating system, who will go to attest, will run up against the infamous, Do Not Pass Go sign.

 What do you need to do?
    1. Perform a Risk Assessment: Begin with a thorough Risk Assessment of your facility. This will make it fully transparent for you on all of the computers running Windows 7.
    2. Assess your current software: By doing an audit, this will reveal if you will need NEW hardware, how you will purchase the new hardware and if your workstations will be able to handle Windows 10.
    3. Plan your Windows 10 Migration: Once you complete your audit of hardware you will know if you need to purchase new computers. If your computers can handle the Windows 10 upgrade & updates.  Microsoft does not aggressively advertise it widely, but you can still upgrade to Windows 10 at no charge if you use Windows 7.
    4. Proper Disposal of the old Windows 7 computers: Be aware your old Windows 7 computers will still have Protected Health Information on them, so this means the hard drives will need to be wiped with a secure wipe method before completely disposing of them.  On an added note: If you use a third-party service, be sure your disposing servicer provides you with a Certificate of Destruction to add to your own HIPAA documentation, validating you have performed your responsibilities to destroy the PHI that may have been on the old hard drives.

If you ARE considering looking into getting a new EHR. Take a look at  VersaSuite’s tips to Onboarding A New EHR Successfully.

      1. Understanding and Developing Your Hospital’s IT Resources
      2. The Importance of Training When Onboarding an EHR System
      3. 6 Ways to Help Your Staff Adjust to a New EHR System
A final mention:  Microsoft is not HIPAA compliant

Windows XP, Windows Vista are no longer being supported by Microsoft, Windows 8 extended support for end in 2023.

Another issue awaiting to affect practices, facilities, and businesses will be servers running Windows Server 2003 and 2008. Windows Server 2003 was retired in 2015 and Windows 2008 will be retired at the same time as Windows 7, January 14, 2020. Servers are often used for longer periods than workstations and because of this, they are forgotten. If you are using a server with either of these operating systems, it is time to upgrade. The issue is, however, that the servers will also likely need to be replaced. Servers that old won’t be able to run the newer Microsoft operating systems for servers. Installing a new server is a much more prolonged process than changing your workstations. It involves relocating practice management and EMR data.  Needing to learn more from Microsoft, follow the link here:

Schedule an EHR System Demo

We hope that today’s post will help you set your hospital up for success as you prepare to implement a new EHR system. We regularly post informational articles and other helpful resources, so be sure to follow us on social media and bookmark our blog!

If you’re looking for EHR medical software that works for you, then get in touch with the team at VersaSuite to learn more about our fully comprehensive software. We’ve designed a platform that’s flexible, affordable, interoperable, and capable of handling all of your hospital’s needs. Give us a call or get in touch with us online when you’re ready to see why we’re the top rated national hospital management system.

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