FAQ: What is ‘cloud-based storage’?

Uploading a whole year’s worth of evidence into your appraisal toolkit is depressing enough, so having to do it in a consulting room just adds insult to injury. Whilst practices are usually the best places to collect the evidence, your home is usually the most comfortable to work up ideas and reflect. Think warm fire, fresh coffee, chocolate hobnob.

But your learning isn’t just to be locked away for your appraisal. How would it be if next time you see a patient with Bell’s palsy, you don’t have to spend 30 minutes researching the prednisolone dosing regime, but you could look up your case review from 18 months ago to remind yourself? A portable, easy-to-search record of your learning can be a powerful tool during consultations.

Don’t even think of using a USB stick between home and work. Too easy too loose, fragile and a great way to transfer viruses. The only way nowadays is through secure online storage accessible from any device.

Enter ‘cloud’ or ‘cloud-based’ storage, the peripatetic GP’s best friend. The main players are Microsoft’s OneDrive, Google Drive and Dropbox, with plenty of websites giving a rundown of these and more.

But our favourite here at NASGP is Google Drive; not only do we run all our email and calendars using Google, but all our documents, including every downloadable Microsoft Word document – were originally created in Google Drive (we simply ‘save as’ Microsoft Word). Best of all, its enormous sweet suite of products is free, or for £30 a year you can go for the Google for Business package – no adverts, customise your email address, and has the same ISO 27001 security standards that Clarity adheres too.

In a nutshell, so long as you have a modern secure browser in the surgery (sadly not IE8) anything and everything you create in the surgery is instantly saved and available later at home.

Security wise, whatever option you plump for, make sure is supports ISO 27001 security standard. Even though you’ll be using a system that is more secure than the “little black book approach”, it is still important to remember not to use patient identifiable data.


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