Microsoft preps NHS for Windows XP upgrades

Windows 8

Microsoft has rolled out some new system authentication software that will let NHS workers access patient data using newer versions of Windows.

The Identity Agent software will allow NHS staff to connect to the National Programme for IT's Spine infrastructure, which in turn authorises them to access applications that store patient data.

Spine is reportedly used by more than 27,000 NHS organisations, including GP surgeries, pharmacies, opticians and dentists.

The new version of Microsoft's Identity Agent software will allow PCs running later versions of the software giant's operating systems to use Spine for the first time.

Microsoft claims this will speed up adoption of Windows 7 and 8 within the NHS, where the majority of computer users are still using decade-old XP.

Up to 45 NHS bodies are currently in the process of testing Identity Agent, the company added.

Alastair Dick, Microsoft NHS chief technology officer, said the introduction of Identity Agent will help boost efficiency within NHS departments.

"Identity Agent will free the NHS to use powerful modern software features from virtual application streaming that improves management of desktops to 64bit processing, and [offer] support for slate devices so doctors walking around wards have instant access to the right data," explained Dick.