I've written about my very old school doctor before. Whenever I visit him, I find his concerns to be a microcosm of what doctors across the country are facing.
This time, my doc was complaining about the cost of medical software. He was going on and on about the new healthcare laws. He complained of how he's now required to record this and that, and about how patient care time is being eaten up by mandatory record keeping.
Then he went on a rant about the companies (the "vultures," to use his word) that constantly call him, trying to sell him this software plan or that software license. If only, he said to me, his software could be free.
I didn't share with him my feelings about the irony in that statement, given the high cost of services from the medical industry.
Nevertheless, I will share with you the hint I gave him: there are a lot of free and open source medical record keeping programs. While the list is far frome exhaustive, a good and quick first stop is the Wikipedia page "List of open source healthcare software."
The software ranges from public health to dental management, from medical practice management, to imaging and more.
I know that it won't cut down on our medical bills, but it might help some doctors and clinics get up to speed with EHR while avoiding huge startup costs. Of course, open source does come with its own challenges, but hey, what's a side-effect or two when you're taking your free software medicine?