What you cannot locate or organize using technology is your mind. The only way to synthesize the things you learn is by using your brain. You decide which information is most valuable by processing every bit of it through that giant calculator in your skull. I process data by writing it in my own words, and organizing it into my own categories. Making Black Book pages is a good way to do that.
Before you start making a black book page for any one condition, create your Template. Use a familiar word processing program. Choose a format--font, size and overall style, that suits you. Make your own original header/footer and decide on the headings you will use. Date it. Then improve it as you go along.
Save your template some accessible. You will duplicate it whenever you want to make a new Black Book Page. At the beginning you will create a lot of documents filled with empty space. Don't worry about that. Start one any time you learn something useful about a condition that you don't have notes on yet. It will grow.
Here are the parts of a template:
- Name the template document. I name mine AA_Template so that it's always at the stop of the alphabetical stack of documents.
- Title. In the template I have the word TEMPLATE as my title, and I center the title in the header.
- Your name, business name and byline. This also goes in the header.
- Date updated. I like to put in a date that I can just click to make it today.
- HEADINGS. I capitalize my headings so they stand out from all the other stuff, because sometimes the sections get long.
- Page numbers in the footer if you care.
Picking the headings is important. These notes will become your protocols. For each condition or diagnosis you collect information and your headings will influence what information you seek. That information guides prevention efforts, assessment and treatment. As long as you practice medicine, there are opportunities to expand.
Below are the headings I use most. The PDR (Physician's Desk Reference) or Merck Manual will show you the categories and organization that are used conventionally. Start with a lot of headings in your template and delete any you don't use. After a while you'll change your template to match your way of thinking. Reorganize however it suits you.
Category headings are in ALL CAPS in my BB, and they differ depending on the condition. Many of these are in there:
EVALUATION (HISTORY, PHYSICAL EXAM, LABS, IMAGING)
COURSE & PROGNOSIS (PARQ)
TREATMENT (ends up being a big category, I use an outline)
I will explain more about what goes under each heading in a future post. If you are new enough to medicine that you don't fully understand the meanings of these headings, a smart first project is to learn the words. I didn't know them all when I started, and it would have helped.