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Stepwise Success

Working in the Cloud

Published July 18, 2014 3:36 PM by Scott Warner

I blogged about “the cloud” in 2010: “If you’re using any applications that run in your web browser over the Internet, you’re using cloud computing.” While our hospital still uses aging Microsoft Office software and local storage the world has moved up.

And I’ve been writing in the cloud since I blogged about it. Google Apps are as functional as Office for the most part: word processing, spreadsheets, presentations. (You can use online versions of Office software, also.) These aren’t installed as programs on a computer in the traditional sense but instead run in the browser engine. All modern browsers can run Javascript programs embedded or linked to in web pages that are downloaded on the fly and stored locally in your browser’s cache.

Hardware doesn’t matter. I can write on a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone, here or at work. I’ve talked into my smartphone and seen the text appear in real time on my desktop. Since everything is stored in the cloud, I don’t worry about hard drive failures, corrupted file structures, making backups, or printing a paper backup. In fact I never print anything.

And not just my writing, but everything is in the cloud. I store receipts online using an Android app, for example. Sites such as Dropbox and Box offer additional gigabytes of free storage for documents or photographs that can be uploaded and accessed from multiple devices. Anything I upload can be accessed anywhere. This all happens without any extra work. That’s a paradigm shift.

All this translates into efficiency and convenience, at least for me. Working in the cloud is easy.

Healthcare has been slow to adopt these changes and laboratories slower still. But change is happening. We are connected to more systems, our information systems are being configured to meet terms of “meaningful use” set by the Affordable Care Act, and the ubiquity of cheap, vast online storage is making electronic document management a dawning reality. Similar to my own experience, labs will find working in the cloud efficient and convenient.

NEXT: Rarely Ordered But Critical Tests

posted by Scott Warner


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About this Blog

    Scott Warner, MLT(ASCP)
    Occupation: Laboratory Manager
    Setting: Critical Access Hospital
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