Outliners

If you like the outliner tool on Microsoft Word, then Thought Manager (www.handshigh.com) is the program for you. It works in the same way as in Word and is an extremely elegant, structured and compact way of making notes.

Most doctors have not used an outliner and they initially find this way of note-making strange. However, if you have ever been to medical school, you have likely picked up the outliner way of thinking, even though you might not know it.

Think back to pathology classes, when you tried to memorise the aetiology of disease states. Do you remember learning to classify all the lists? Do you remember subdividing each list into congenital versus acquired, then dividing further into cardiac causes,

PEPTIC ULCERS

PEPTIC ULCERS

► epidemiology

► evolution in PU treatment

PEPTIC ULCERS

PEPTIC ULCERS

► evolution in PU treatment

Start with the headings . . . Expand the clinical features . . .

PEPTIC ULCERS

PEPTIC ULCERS

► epidemiology »clinicals

»dyspepsia »discomfort/ pain •abdo

• related to eating

► NSfllDS - causes of ulcers i [Done) (Details) + 44 Q

Expand all the way respiratory causes and so on? Like most medical students, I underwent a eureka moment as I realised how this system simplified the learning of so many lists.

Outliners make use of this power of classification. The screenshots above are taken from my lectures notes on peptic ulcers. The structure of the document helped me learn the details. The first screenshot also shows an extra advantage - you can see all the major headings on one screen. Given the small screen of some handhelds, this is a great feature.

Therefore, in contrast to Laura, I chose this method for writing all my lecture notes. You should decide for yourself. As with all other handheld software, ThoughtManager comes with a 30-day trial period, so you can try it before opening your wallet.

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