The beauty of the system Louis is currently developing is that once the database is created its only a matter of where the database is installed. This system can run off my server across the www, or locally on a hospital server installed with php (free) and mysql(also free) or even on a standalone PC, I am currently demo-ing an integrated package that includes a php/mysql shell for local use. However all that said; the best solution, Louis feels, is a simple server on your LAN managed by your IT department! That way data is accessible through the Lan on any PC.
This is probably Louis umpteenth PHP/MYSQL project and the flexibility of this pairing is amazing, in fact most of the internet now employs the combo including Yahoo and Facebook.
Geoff Louis totally agrees with you on a collaboration / form standard.
Louis has looked at hundreds of EBME database structures written in MS Access (and other) and they are all so very different it's painful. Normalization of tables is often overlooked with 'tragic' future consequences.
Louis read through Mr Sandham's Requirement for an effective management system for Biomedical Equipment and found it comprehensive enough to start a basic design. Also Steve Lake (University of Liverpool) wrote what Louis considers to be the best EMS solution ever created (take a bow SL)!
Watch this space