First decision: Windows 7 or Windows 8?
It’s a personal decision. Windows 7 has the familiar user interface with the “Start” button. Windows 8 has the Metro interface with tiles. Many users have had difficulty adjusting to this new interface. Your staff might need time to get used to this and this might affect your productivity in the short term. You need to be prepared for it. I would personally go for Windows 7 at this time, if all you need is a desktop or laptop operating system. But if you are looking to access any confidential data via tablets, I would consider Windows 8 OS and the Windows Pro tablet. This will provide you a seamless experience across both desk top and mobile platforms.
Second Decision: Which edition?
From a data security and HIPAA compliance perspective, if your PC , laptop or tablet stores any electronic protected health information (ePHI), the data needs to be encrypted. Windows 7 Ultimate /Enterprise editions and the Window 8 Professional edition have features like “BitLocker drive encryption”, that encrypts the entire drive or files on the hard drive and “BitLocker To Go” that encrypts data stored on the USB flash drive. Enabling these two features protects your ePHI from unauthorized access and creates a “safe harbor” in the event of a data breach from a compliance standpoint.
Additional features present in these editions include AppLocker and DirectAccess which provide IT administrators greater control and oversight thereby increasing data security and reducing the risk of a data breach.