Thursday, February 11, 2010

Evernote is ever useful

Constantly in search of the latest and greatest iPhone ap, I am surprised at how useful I have found Evernote.

When you find yourself living in a world where keeping track of random thoughts is necessary -- Word documents, photographs, or in fact, any item that streams across your mind -- Evernote fits the bill.

My computer documents folder had become a trash can. With papers stuck in virtually hundreds of folders and the search function limited to folder names only, Evernote allows you to create files that can be searched inside and out.

Let's see an example:

Now being challenged with creating new ideas for our "ready to be launched" video blog (MyDermGuy), I am focusing on archiving any tidbit of data that might be useful for the blog. So I was wandering around Central Market with Kristen picking up a late evening dinner-to-go when I ran across the bath salts aisle. Now Central Market is known for bulk sales. You can buy bulk coffee, candy, honey, and yes, even bath salts. So I thought "What about a video blog on the pros and cons of using bath salts?".

I remembered Evernote. I whipped out my iPhone, took a photograph of the bath salt display, and continued on my way. (You know, now that I think about it, it did appear that people were wondering why I was photographing bath salts. )

This is where the the Evernote magic begins. It will take my photograph, put it in my virtual cloud file where I can retrieve it either from my laptop or my iPhone, AND make it where I can search for it! Yes, can add "tags". But what a pain. Evernote will use OCR technology to search the upload for any text and allow THAT to be searched. So, in my picture of bath salts it found the words "bath salts" and made it part of the information.

Next time I work on a blog post all I have to remember is "bath" and it will find my photo for me.

As a plus it will also geotag the photos. This means that if I can't remember what great idea I had at Central Market, all I have to do is find the store on the map and it will link me to all the Evernotes I have archived from that location.

This is only one example. I can send emails from my computer with travel information, take photographs of restaurant menus (yes, the OCR makes these searchable), upload PDF files, and bookmark websites for later study.

I can recommend this product without reservation. The trial version is free, and the premium upgrade is only $45 per year.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Would Twitter improve patient compliance?

Would a social networking notification remind you to wear sunscreen?

That was the thought I pondered today when a patient told me he would comply with a cancer prevention regimen if someone would just remind him.

Last year my partner Alan Menter and I co-authored an article on patient compliance or "adherence" as the word in the trade is called. To be frank, the more complicated the regimen of treatment, the poorer the compliance from the patient.

And what a complicated world we live in. I mean, all I ask is for patients to wear sunscreen. I can only imagine the challenge of following a low cholesterol, low fat, low carb, low taste diet.

So enter Twitter.

Just how successful would a daily reminder from your doctor about the benefits of compliance have on your choices? It would go something like this: (note: I didn't verify that this is less than 140 characters...but you get the point) "Eating granola today can lower your cholesterol (@docdano)."

Would these 140 characters get your LDL below 140?

There is a reason that "compliance" and "complicated" share the same root word. Whether or not a physician's daily words of wisdom would increase a patient's desire to make good choices remains to be seen.

Regardless, there is no doubt that social networking will find its way into the doctor patient relationship. And if it can make a difference, physicians and patients should embrace it.