Avoiding Windows 8 in the Morning.

I don’t want to install Windows 8

The function just isn’t that great

But before I begin

I must dodge once again

An update I try not to hate.


Synopsis: I’m a Family Practitioner from Sioux City, Iowa. In 2010 I danced back from the brink of burnout, and honoring a 1 year non-compete clause, traveled and worked in out-of-the-way places in Alaska, Nebraska, Iowa, and New Zealand. After three years working with a Community Health Center, I went back to adventures in temporary positions until they have an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system I can get along with. Assignments in Nome, Alaska, rural Iowa, and suburban Pennsylvania stretched into fall 2015. Since last winter I’ve worked in Alaska and western Nebraska, and taken time to deal with my wife’s (benign) brain tumor. After a moose hunt in Canada, and a couple of assignments in western Iowa, I’m back in Alaska. Any identifiable patient information has been included with permission.

My computer gets turned off at night, either by someone or by power outages. Come morning I face a powered-down machine, and I have to make a cold start.  This week, turning on the power button resulted in a 3 minutes wait and a demand to install Windows 8.

Our facility runs on Windows 7 Professional. I’ve worked with Windows 8 and found it balky and undependable, and, if I can believe what others say, the fault comes from the system.  Yesterday I undertook the same series of useless maneuvers three times before I could boot up Windows 7 Professional.

When I worked in Navajoland, my outlying clinic had power outages on average, 6 times a day, which effectively ruled out computerization. I had hoped to be the last computer illiterate member of the Yale Class of ’72, not buying my first machine till the late 80’s.

I’ve learned some things in the interim, including the universal Microsoft fix: turn it off, then turn it on. And if that doesn’t work, I know to call the Information Technology specialist.  Every health care institution now has one.

So after three unsuccessful laps around the wrong track, I walked out to the nurse’s station and asked for the IT number (the listed one got me Housekeeping, and however much I was tempted to ask if she had a trashcan large enough for my computer, I didn’t). One of the more computer-savvy nurses offered to have a look at it for me.  She punched the button that would have led to installation of Windows 8.

I gasped. My heart in my throat, I desperately reached for the power button, which, to my horror, didn’t turn the computer off.  Till I held it down and counted to 5.

A crowd gathered in my office, which eventually included the IT specialist. But by then, for unknown reasons, the Windows 7 Pro version booted up.  Luckily, I had witnesses.

The IT maven shook his head, took a seat, went to the control panel and did things that I didn’t understand.

Then, because the first patient of the day canceled, I chatted with him and the Nurse Practitioner that shares my office.

The NP had an independent practice for a couple of years before he came here. We volleyed horror stories of Epic, Cerner, and Centricity, but he had good things to say about PracticeFusion, the system he used.

I opined that every Electronic Medical Record system loses functionality with every update.  The Indian Health Service purchased the VA system and named it RPMS.  In the last 25 years, no one has tried to improve it.  Thus it still works.


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