How the Internet is Changing Practice Management Systems in the current issue of Health Data Management discusses the significant growth and interest by practice administrators and providers in web-based practice management systems. While offering some unique benefits over practice-based client/server systems, practice management systems based on the Application Service Provider (ASP) delivery model present some unique challenges all their own. Once again, the huge amounts of money being sunk into fragmented health IT software are revealed. As well as the continued belief that closed-source software is the answer as evidenced by yet another physician group that thinks they can build a better mouse trap and have invested $23 million to do it.
Ironically, I have yet to find a commercial ASP offering a live web-based demo of their practice management system. Instead, I have been treated to long text descriptions with accompanying fuzzy screenshots of systems being marketed. Some “Cutting-edge” companies believe flashy multimedia demo’s are better than offering a demo system for folks to test drive via their web site.
This commercial closed-source marketing practice of describing how a system will work rather than letting the user experience the system themselves is in stark contrast to how Open Source health care projects are promoted.
Many Open Source systems provide demo systems that prospective users can actually take for a “test-drive” at their convienence, 24x7x365.What a concept! Health care ASP marketing guys should take note of this ‘feature’.
For those interested in taking a web-based practice management system for a spin, check out the demo of the FreeMed practice management, and FreePM, both Open Source medical projects currently underway. There are many, many others.