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[Gnumed-devel] Gnumed FAQs

From: James Busser
Subject: [Gnumed-devel] Gnumed FAQs
Date: Wed, 25 Feb 2004 22:38:35 -0800

Hi all

Appended is a draft answer to another question. The developing draft collection is available for viewing at David Grant's wiki at:

If prompted for credentials you can use as user: TWikiGuest and as password: guest

What might it cost to run?

As GnuMed can be obtained without fee, self-sufficient persons will find their only costs will relate to their hardware and, for multi-user and remote access, to their network. Some Open Source communities have been able to identify and provide economically priced hardware solutions --- see for example the OSCAR project
Caveat: While GnuMed may itself cost nothing, "full" EMR and practice support is unlikely to be achieved until later versions, and so some users' needs may in the meantime have to be met using other --- potentially "proprietary" --- software.

The costs of self-sufficiency must also be kept in mind. Needed will be the ability to install, configure and troubleshoot (to the point of debugging) packages on your operating system(s) as well as to train and support your own office staff. Even if you are able to do this you may find the erosion into your total time available, and the disruption to your medical practice activities, to be prohibitive and your enjoyment may come more from helping to improve GnuMed than in doing all of your own support.

Most physicians will want or need skilled computer support people to do some or all of their computing support. Especially for a first implementation you would want or need to secure ample help with the hardware and network design plus software installation and configuration and training. Once your system is functioning smoothly you will likely want to structure an arrangement in which these people provide a base amount of ongoing support, with additional service on a "pay as you go" basis. Because you are unlikely to need a full-time person (at least not on an ongoing basis) it will make tremendous sense to co-ordinate your needs with those of one or more other GnuMed-based medical practices in order to make feasible a critical mass of sustainable local support.

Having said all of the above, a few ballpark numbers may be helpful predicated on i) Open Source costing the same or less for support and ii) your NOT having to pay acquisition costs, nor pre-pay for future development --- you would pay only toward any of those GnuMed core enhancements, or customizations, whose costs --- time, energy or money --- would make sense to share. In Canada, one well-established EMR vendor charges the equivalent of $US 2100 per full-time physician equivalent in the medical practice per year which includes installation, support, and any bug-fixes and feature-enhancements issued within the year. A different vendor charges about $US 1500 per physician per year. Talk to some local computer support people to assist with some calculations. As soon as we collect any of our own real examples of costs, we can share the information.

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