Windows 7 will shine in medicine

There are no longer any excuses for doctors to have tablet PCs equipped with a pen-like stylus, an interface just as good as the clipboard and, over time, better.

Windows 7 is finally here, and your doctor couldn't be happier.

Thanks to its full support of multi-touch touch screens, Windows 7 is perfect for a tablet PC any doctor can use to record, update, and analyze your health records.

The big phrase you will hear this year is All In One. It means instead of choosing among a notebook, a tablet and a touchscreen, they are all one thing. As the standard PC becomes an All In One, the price drops toward the $500/unit level seen in standard laptops.

But wait, there's more. Because the touchscreen is now supported within the operating system, applications will also get that support. This will also drop the price of solutions dramatically.

One problem doctors have long had with computerizing health records was the sloppy interface, when compared with clipboards. The clipboards always had the form they needed to use, and if it didn't they could also slip another form into the clip and go.

Clipboards also support a doctor's own handwriting. So now will standard PCs, once their optical character recognition software is trained. Nurses who "know what that scrawl means" will do the training, asking no more follow-up questions than they do . (Was that Percocet or prerequisite?) As the software learns the patterns, these annoying questions will start to go away.

Support will be needed to lead docs and nurses through the menus, so they can reach the right form, the right report, the right image. As with any PC application your mileage goes up as you get familiar with it.

But a virtual page is being turned here. There are no longer any excuses for doctors to have tablet PCs equipped with a pen-like stylus, an interface just as good as the clipboard and, over time, better.

This won't overcome all objections. There is still a sort of protection in that bad handwriting. (No, your honor, I didn't order Percocet -- I asked what was the prerequisite.)

But now we will know where the objection comes from.

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