Getting the Data Out

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The best constructed, organized and cross-referenced topic, when loaded into a PDA, is of no use if the user does not know it is there. This is again an argument for creating your own unique material using a problem-based approach and taking ownership of that material. In this way you are more likely to remember you have the reference when you need it in a hurry.

There are several tips to remember to facilitate retrieval of the material:
1. Add your own input as stated above.
2. Review the material at least annually to keep it useful and reliable.
3. Delete topics for which you have no further use. If it is used enough to be firmly lodged in your brain, you will have no need for the reference, and it is only in your way when looking for other topics.
4. Name your topics to allow easy first pass recognition. Remember that they will appear in an alphabetical list. You are more likely to recognize Proteinuria - Classification than than Classification of Proteinuria if you are trying to organize your thinking around proteinuria.
5. Consider filing topics in subfolders such as specialties if you accumulate a large number of them.
6. Consider cross-filing or filing more than one place. If your Procedural Sedation topic is filed under Trauma, but contains pediatric doses, you might wish to file it again under Pediatrics. When saving to a text reader this might have to be done by saving the topic twice – each with a different name – so that it can be put into separate categories.
7. Consider including individual topics as part of a grouping of topics. The topic of Sudden Cardiac Death – ECG Clues might include Brugada Syndrome, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy and Long QT Syndrome, but it might still be an advantage for you to have each of these three available on the menu as a separate topic as well. It doesn’t take a lot more work to do this.
8. Associate some clinical tasks with a quick reference to your handheld device. I still need to remember to consult my PDA prior to Procedural Sedation or office-based Endometrial Biopsy in order to be completely on top of the material at point of care.

Those of us who rely heavily on a handheld device as an aid to cognitive skills are usually as lost without this device as we are without glasses. To this end, remembering to charge the device regularly and remembering to actually take it to work can be career enhancing.