How Can Academic Physicians Benefit From "Google Office"?

Online Word Processor

We already use to collaborate on articles at our section at the Cleveland Clinic and several members of the group (including me) are very happy with it. No more emailing back and forth different versions of one document and you can see all the revisions.

For example, KidneyNotes and me are currently working on an abstract together. He is in New York and I am in Cleveland but if he edits the document at the same time as me, I can see the changes in real time.... And with Writely, all collaborators always have the latest version of the document.

Online Spreadsheet

Google Spreadsheets, which is released today, is the logical next step -- now you can combine the data online and share it with other researchers. Importing or exporting a MS Excel document is easy. Whenever you are ready with the data analysis, just switch to Writely to prepare the abstract and manuscript. HIPAA compliance is a must -- no patient-identifiable information can be stored on Google servers.

Google Spreadsheets and Writely will definitely be very useful to physician researchers around the world. Whether they are called "Google Office" or not, these 2 services will change the way we work.

It Is Good to Share

The key difference between the good old MS Word and Excel, and the new online collaboration tools is that you can "share" a document with other people. They can be invited as viewers or editors.

Currently, Google Spreadsheets is a limited experiment and only the people who signed up very early this morning can use the product. If you are a researcher interested in trying Writely or Google Spreadsheets, send me an email, and I can invite you as a collaborator.

It's nice to share. Google Blog.
Google Spreadsheet? and Inside Google Spreadsheets. Google Blogoscoped.
A look at Google's Spreadsheets. The Unofficial Google Weblog.
Now, Free Ways to Do Desktop Work on the Web. NYTimes.
Image source: Google


  1. Fabulous idea. It is however short sighted that the option of entering data is open only to academic physicians. It should be open to anyone who can input useful data and derive the benefit from it. How do you control scientific fraud and mischief? there is no dearth of caes of fraudulent research in Medicine. Results too good to be true, and the general inclination of the editorial staff of "PEER REVIEWED" journals to print papers that prove a hypothesis drives this behaviour! Unless a ironclad method of scientific audit is introduced early in this game, the results from coolaborative spreadsheet work may not be very useful. However if all published data in medical journals is injected into such huge spreadsheets, it will provide a dynamic meta analysis for the average user. Google should go a step forward and include easy to use query and analytical tools to make this product really useful and distinctly different from the current brood of spreadsheets. Google could make its buck from advertizign of products related to the research in question in a side bar.

  2. I agree this is a fabulous idea. One only needs to convince academicians that doing so would be reasonable secure.
    I blogged on this issue here: