As medical professionals, we really don’t sit down much. We walk from exam room to exam room, floor to floor, department to department, home to work, work to home, hospital to hospital, and even to our patients homes.
So the challenge, as a reconstructive surgeon building a software solution for collaboration among providers, was this: How can we make this solution organic, flexible, and easy-to-access? In other words, how can we make it reflect our lives, not the life of the average IBM worker?
The answer was to build a network not with concrete, paper, and disks, but with computer-to-computer connections that function like neurons in the brain. The answer? The cloud. And how do we access the cloud? Via Software as a Service (SaaS.)
Instead of requiring a concrete program on your individual computer, the cloud means that you subscribe to a service (SaaS again) that connects you with the “cloud” (a network of computers) to store and manage data, and to process that data as a partner with your computer.
To completely mix the metaphor, it’s like an apartment building where the furnace is shared by all of its tenants. The apartment owner sets the thermostat in his apartment, while his neighbor sets a thermostat to a different setting. Neither runs down to the basement and puts water in the boiler and coal on the fire. Each of the multiple tenants has his own keys and locks. But, the cost of the furnace and its maintenance is shared. Each tenant pays less for the heat than if each had bought his own furnace (needless to say a “green” use of our resources.)
Cloud services have five essential characteristics:
- On-demand self-service: no IT guy needs to supply you with access or passwords. No disks; no servers; no installers. It’s there when you need it.
- Broad network access: you can use the service from wherever you want, whenever you want. Your mother-in-law’s PC after dinner? Check. Your iPhone from a Hawaiian beach? Double-check.
- Resource pooling: This is where the furnace example comes in. You don’t need a computing center or even a very good laptop. You just need to connect to computers that do these functions for you.
- Rapid elasticity: It grows as you grow. No need to estimate usage 18 months later. Also, because changes can be made instantly, there is no “your computer is worthless now” obsolescence.
- Measured service: Like the pay-per-pound buffet, you don’t have to pay for what you’re not going to use.
We use information continually, want updates, and want help. However, unlike office dwellers with their fingers glued to their keyboard, we flow, and we need our information to flow with us. The cloud does, and that’s why ClickCare is all about the cloud.