Information management

The Brain software

We all have so much information coming at us all day long! How do we manage to keep up with it? For me, I have a variety of tools. Probably too many, but I find different tools make it easiest to manage different information and engages different parts of my brain.

Obviously, practice management software (for us, that’s Endovision) is where everything patient-related goes. Our software has a call list, letter templates, and other features that allow us to manage the administrative side of patient care.

Microsoft Outlook is the next major application. Just being able to color code and flag messages helps keep up with them. I love, love, love using the notes for all those little bits of information that I have no idea where else to keep. Books I want to read. Restaurants near me that deliver. Just about anything can go in a note. I’ll usually move it to another program if it gets to be more than a few sentences.

Next up is Microsoft OneNote. This is so great at keeping up with all the information that’s too long for a note in Outlook. I also use it to maintain my ongoing to-do lists for all the different hats I wear. I have bunches of articles and webinar/seminar notes. It’s set up like you would a paper 3 ring binder notebook. It makes it easy for me to organize things and the search feature adds another level of ability to find what I need. Evernote is a similar program that a lot of people prefer. Since OneNote is part of the Office suite, there is no additional cost. OneNote, like Evernote, is in the cloud, so I have access on any device and it stays synced.

While spreadsheets are designed for numbers, I find them useful for keeping up with a wide range of information. For example, I use Microsoft Excel to track all of our clinical supplies and suppliers, including handpiece repair history. I love that I can have one file on an area (like staff checklists) and have different worksheets within that file. So much easier to keep up with information. When I look for something in file manager, I’m not bombarded with 50 files. I have a few spreadsheets each having lots of worksheets. I’ve expanded on this idea in the post Fewer spreadsheets, more worksheets.

Finally, I have two programs most people wouldn’t guess to use. First, is MindManager for mindmapping. I’m a very visual person so when I’m starting a new project, I find it helpful to create a mindmap so I can “see” how all the pieces can fit together. It has a very robust notes feature so the mindmap only needs a few words for each topic. The second is The Brain. It is so awesome! The image above is a screenshot of my Brain. I put so much in here I don’t know where to begin. So, I’ll suggest you go to their site and explore. It’s so much fun to use, I even created a Brain for root canals!

Tricia Santos

After 18 years of providing computer consulting, training and speaking, I fell into a "real" job (managing a dental specialist practice). So, I gave up my business in 2007. However, I left my websites up (although stagnant) since I never gave up hope of some day getting back into training and writing. I recently decided it was time to do something with them and realized I have a lot of really good stuff here. And, most of it is actually still relevant. I guess it's time for me to get back into writing.

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