Cloud computing aids mental illness, ophthalmic projects

Drug developers are beginning to put cloud computing and enterprise search capabilities to work for them. The tools are aiding development efforts by helping researchers and clinicians collaborate over distances.

Researchers at Mind Research Network, for example, a specialist in mental illness and brain injury, have leveraged the free video chat capability that comes with the nonprofit's cloud-based email system. They are using the video to observe therapist/patient sessions taking place across the country to evaluate the techniques used. Via web-based forms, the researchers enter their observations on the sessions; data and comments are aggregated automatically into one spreadsheet.

Another example: A large California biotech, now in its third year of using a cloud-based email and collaboration system, is witnessing researcher use of the system for multiple-author collaboration on documents. Some are also using the cloud for communication and secure sharing in approved domains with third-party research contractors.

On the enterprise search side, tools are showing increased utility over their content management system forerunners. Enterprise search tools--blind to data format and storage system--are silo-busters, traversing the lab and clinic results, demographic data, and documents stored in dedicated content repositories.

Ophthalmic specialist Essilor says that its legacy content management system helped researchers create content, but the information was hard to find, share and manage. An enterprise search solution now gives project team members the means to search across the company's knowledge base.

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