Leighton, S. Evernote, Don't Forget the Bubbles, 2013. Available at:
A free suite of archiving and note taking tools useful for busy doctors
What is Evernote?
Evernote is a very useful note taking system. Its success stems from a combination of sophisticated note taking software, ‘Dropbox-like’ cloud storage and a intuitive universal search function.
There is a version of Evernote for most devices:
- iPhone, Android & Blackberry mobiles
- Desktop clients for Windows & Mac
- A responsive web interface
Helpful for the busy doctor?
As a doctor, time is always precious. We are often juggling many different personal projects while wearing a number of different hats.
A typical day for a trainee involves clinical work, clerical tasks and working with your team. At the same time, we are are studying for postgraduate exams, attending training courses and keeping our dreaded ePortfolios up to date! On top of all this, many of us pursue active research careers or even something completely different like blogging or medical literature.
Note taking cloud storage software like Evernote can be very useful to help you keep on top of everything.
Perhaps the most useful feature is tagging. Every time you create a note you can assign it a tag like ‘revision’, ‘research’ or ‘shopping’. Say you are in the middle of your ward round or between patients at clinic and you happen to notice a useful poster on the wall for revision – you can take a photo of it with your Evernote app and assign it to ‘revision’. Maybe you have an idea for dinner – quickly create a list of ingredients and tag it to ‘shopping’.
There is also a useful browser extension, Evernote Clipper, which lets you ‘clip’ the web page you are on or part of the page to your notebook. Again everyone is saved to your personal cloud and can be tagged for later.
What could be improved?
The service is free for the basic version but there are a number of potentially vital features which may make you feel you have to fork out the, not inconsiderable, amount of money for the premium product.
The most glaring absence from the free version is the ability to password protect your notes. This may be a ‘game changer’ for clinicians or researchers. We often have notes and data that we need to keep secure. If this is an issue and you don’t want to spend money then a service like Dropbox does it for free.
The other issue is that the free version does not allow offline access to your notes. Given that there is often no mobile reception in the depths of our hospitals (nor are we really meant to be using mobile networks in clinical areas), you might not be able to access your content.
Given these criticisms, Evernote is still a product that I find very useful and would recommend.