Not enough time is spent thinking of pediatric offices as small businesses. There are lessons learned in other businesses that pediatricians can and should apply to their own. If you spend any time around me (or PCC) you’ll eventually hear a sermon or two about Open Source Software (OSS). Small pediatric practices can’t usually afford the entire MS Office suite, for example, or suffer the consequences of allowing their staff to use Outlook and IE.
Here is a good piece from CNET about alternatives to Ms Office. I’ve used OpenOffice (one of their examples) for years without a problem. I originally switched years ago when an Excel spreadsheet kept giving me addition errors(!) but, when I opened it in OpenOffice, everything worked. I haven’t gone back since.
If you’re a pediatric practice running a stack of PCs or Macs, think about using alternatives to MS Office. They’re cheaper and, often, better. There are also plenty of other OSS packages that we recommend for practices as well (Firefox, Thunderbird, Clamwin, SpyBot, Inkscape, Gimp, Pidgin, etc.). It could save you a lot of money and grief.
These links provide some good overviews of OSS or free (which is different!) software: