Can I use Windows 7 and / or Windows Server 2008 and still be HIPAA compliant?

On 14 January of this year, Microsoft ended support for its Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 workstation and server operating systems. This meant that neither Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 would receive any additional security updates or support from Microsoft. Based on this, I believe that the short answer is no.

The HIPAA Security Rule requires that all software used by Covered Entities and their Business Associates be kept up to date with updates from the [software] manufacturer. This means the Electronic Medical Records (EMR), Electronic Health Records (EHR), Practice Management software as well as the Operating Systems. In the case of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008, since the manufacturer [Microsoft] no longer provides support or updates, this simply is not possible, even if your EMR, EHR, Practice Management software or similar still provides support.

In addition to losing HIPAA compliance, the continued use of Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 by a Covered Entity or their Business Associate could be probemeatic for Covered Entities attesting under MIPS for Meanful Use, since Meaningful USe requires that the Covered Entity attest that they are HIPAA Compliant.

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