How Microsoft Silverlight's End of Life Affects EMRs and Your Medical Practice

Initially released in April 2007, Microsoft Silverlight is an application framework designed to run Internet applications, similar to Adobe Flash. Unfortunately, just five years later, Microsoft announced Silverlight's end of life, totally ceasing its development with plans of ending support altogether in 2021.

On the surface, Silverlight's fate may not seem like an important healthcare technology issue, but in fact, it is very important.

What is Silverlight?

The Microsoft a free web-browser plug-in that enables interactive media experiences, rich business applications and immersive mobile apps. According to Microsoft, Silverlight is cross-platform, cross-browser technology and is functional on all major operating systems and web browsers.

RELATED: Explaining the difference between browser and cloud-based EMR systems

In relation to EMR systems, Silverlight often plays an important role because many EMRs are solely supported on PC devices and leverage the Microsoft technology for their clients to access the EMR software.

What are the disadvantages of Silverlight?

When it comes to using an EMR system that is supported on Silverlight, there are some inherent disadvantages compared to a system that does not require Silverlight.

First, connectivity issues. Look at the illustration below:


Simply because a software uses Silverlight does not automatically mean there will be connectivity issues. However, it does require another step in the process for the EMR system to access its data center and provide the information providers are seeking. An EMR system that does not require Silverlight, on the other hand, simply can access the data center without the extra step, which usually produces quicker results for the end user.

The reliance on Silverlight is another issue. For EMR systems that utilize the Microsoft web application, their functionality is totally dependent on Silverlight actually working. 

Simply put, when Silverlight goes down, the EMR software goes down, and until Microsoft is able to get it back working again, there's nothing that can be done on the part of the EMR vendor or the medical practice itself.

While Silverlight also claims to be compatible with Mac products, many EMR systems that are reliant on Microsoft Silverlight are either unusable on Apple products such as iPads or have extensive problems. This can be very frustrating to customers who want to chart on an iPad or view their patient schedule on their iPhone.

How does Silverlight's end-of-life affect its medical practice users?

The ending of Silverlight means means a lot of work for the EMR software vendors that rely on the Microsoft web application to run the software. 

EMR vendors will have to:

  • Redo the entire software
  • Allocate significant financial, development and time resources for software rewrite

Therefore, it's conceivable to imagine that these vendors won't be focused on innovation or customer requests, but rather they'll be distracted and scrambling to ensure their software actually works in the future.

If you are a medical practice customer of an EMR vendor that relies on Microsoft Silverlight, are you willing to take on that risk with your EMR software? 

InSync Healthcare SolutionsĀ® is a browser-based cloud software that's not only fully-integrated, but is completely unreliant on Microsoft Silverlight for its effectiveness and usability. As a result, InSync is constantly focused on improving its product through innovation and its commitment to listening to users about how we can better streamline their day and improve productivity.

A reliable, constantly improving EMR software will always put your practice in the best position to succeed. Are you getting that from your current solution? Schedule a demo with InSync today!

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