Google Apps (applications) for business has launched this week. The Apps (Google.com/A) include Google Docs & Spreadsheets, email, calendar, IM messaging, page creator, etc.
I think the idea has a promising future. Google Docs & Spreadsheets has completely changed the way I, and many academic physicians I know, write abstracts and articles. I rarely use MS Word anymore -- Google Docs is just so much more convenient.
Of course, the Fortune 500 companies and many hospitals feel nervous about outsourcing their IT departments. They would like to protect their valuable company information which is understandable. HIPAA issues aside though, we may by surprised by how shortsighted this thinking is. Not outsourcing your files to Google (or other Internet giant), may one day feel just as weird as running your own phone company in order not to outsource your phone calls.
SF Bay Pediatrics, a medical group in San Francisco uses Google Apps and their Chief Information Officer recorded a video testimonial:
"When it comes to our email systems, our doctors don't have the time or the budgets to deal with managing technology or defending against spam. With Google Apps we don't have to worry about downloading the latest spam filters or navigating unwieldy servers – this is where we let Google do what it does best, so we can do what we do best – help our patients."
Google Apps can certainly help a doctor run a lean practice with low (or minimal) overhead. Yesterday, WSJ published an interesting article about the so-called micropractices:
"Dr. Moore estimates that his overhead costs make up 35% of his revenue. That compares with a figure of about 60% for other small primary-care group practices."
Dr. Moore does not use Google Apps but the ideas are similar. Google Apps do not include electronic health records.
Google Apps product manager shows in a 17-minutes video how to use Google Apps in a company or organization. Link via Google Operating System.
Google Apps Team Edition
Google Docs & Spreadsheets Could Replace Word & Excel for the Average User
Google Calendar for Doctors: Help Patients See Your Practice Schedule and Make Appointments
How Can a Doctor Use Google Page Creator?
Google Apps vs. Microsoft Office. Geeking with Greg.
Google Apps grows up. Google Blog.
Google Apps Goes Premier. Nathan Weinberg.
No Competition for Google Docs & Spreadsheets. Google Operating System.
"Can I Just Email My Doctor?", Your Patient is Asking the Receptionist
Faltering Family M.D.s Get Technology Lifeline. WSJ.
Livin' la Vida Google: A Month-Long Dive Into Web-Based Apps. Michael Calore, Wired.com, 4/18/2007.
Google Apps for Your Domain in Education. Lucie deLaBruere, 11/2007.