"Teamwork, interoperability and peer review, integral to the
Open Source development method, may make Open Source projects
invaluable to another field that values those qualities--health
"The brainchild of a former health care IT professional, the
Free Practice Management (FreePM) project is an attempt to tackle
an old problem--one of health care information management--with an
Open Source solution. FreePM is still under development and not
quite ready for use, but its founder already has high hopes for its
eventual success in bringing Open Source interoperability to the
diverse microcosms (i.e. pharmacy, radiology, and laboratory
systems, physician's databases, etc.) that comprise the sum of a
modern health care facility."
"Tim Cook, the lead (and at the moment, only) project
coordinator, describes the difficulty in working with proprietary
practice management software. "Well, while working in the health
care IT field, I saw the abuses that hospitals and physicians'
offices were taking from closed source vendors of health care
software. I don't just mean the outrageous pricing of licenses and
per-incident tech support. Too often a sales person is the first
person sent to a site to address problems that everyone knows are
really tech support issues," Cook says. "Their job, I presume, is
to take notes and sell more and `better?' support options. Closed
source vendors know that they have a captive audience. Once the
sale is made it is too expensive, both in money and in the CIO's
[chief information officer's] reputation, to change vendors."
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