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17th October 2017
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Computers and electronic devices have advantages and disadvantages, here we will look at turning them to a possible advantage.
We regularly read update and gather information for CPD and appraisals.
Much of this information comes as journals or books. With the help of software we can convert these paper documents into an electronic storage format. Some text books are now available as an electronic version 'kindle', Many documents can be downloaded as pdf's.
When we carry out certain actions on a computer device, it then stamps a time and date when the action was carried out. Very much like the time and date that is placed on an email is actually incontrovertible electronic evidence.
Here I am going to show you that you can put a comment, opinion, critical review into a 'word' document and when you do that it automatically places the date and time when you did it.
Below is a picture I have taken from the screen of my computer. It shows the blue 'Comment' bubble [M4] (1), where I can type in my thoughts, critical remarks etc. But very importantly when I hover the mouse cursor over [M4] (or even my highlighted text) another white bubble appears (2) which displays the name of the computer on which this comment was created and also the date and time. It is this white bubble that is the incontrovertible electronic evidence. This is the proof of when you did your CPD work and this can be used to support yourself in any legal issues.
Some of you may already know how to make comments so you can skip this section (much of it can be found in manuals on how to use 'word') and you may be more interested in how we get our literature and text into word which is described below.
To demonstrate comments I am using a section of the GMC 'Good Medical Practice 'April 2013, (which I converted into a 'word' document) and I have highlighted the last sentence on point 4 .
Now we can go up to the tabs and click on the 'review' tab (3) and we then get presented with various options one of which is 'new comment' (4).
When we click on the 'new comment' button the doument immediately changes shape such that a blank 'curtain' apears down the whole right hand side of the doument (5), your highlighted text is bracketed and coloured (6) and a dotted line leads from this to a bubble in the curtain on the right, which has 'Comment [M1]: (7)
In this 'comment' bubble you can type your critical evaluation, thoughts etc (8)
You can dowload a 'kindle' application on to your computer from 'Amazon', where you can read any of your electronic kindle books which you have bought. Within the Kindle app, you can highlight sections of the text and make notes but these are not electronically dated or printable.
Most kindle books will allow you to copy and paste into 'word', some of the text, but not all books will allow this. There is also a limit on the amount of material that can be copied, usually around 20-
There are many research paper documents that are downloadable in a 'pdf' format. Sometimes you may be able to copy and paste the whole document into 'word' but sometimes you cannot.
For those books and journals that are not available in an electronic format in which you can copy and paste you have to scan in the relevant pages. If you have a lot of material this scanning process can take sometime. If you are going to buy a scanner take a look at its scanning speeds, I use a lightweight portable Canon Lide 210 which when I bought it had one of the fastest speeds.
Once you have your material scanned you may need some software to convert the image into text and images. Sometimes this may come with the scanner but when this happens it is usually an older version of the software. If this software does not do a good enough job of converting the scanned pages into text then consider buying the latest version say of Omnipage PRO. I use a software programme called 'Claroread' which does more than converting scanned pages into text, it is useful for people who have dyslexia as it can then read the text out aloud. Some 'Adobe' software is able to convert your pdf files into text.
This aspect of the electronic process may put you off, but use the manuals and guides and persevere with it, because once it is learnt, it is an incredibly useful process. You can then virtually collect all of your medical literature and store it on one computer which means you are then able to have access to it at any time and no more heavy books to carry around.
All your work you can then review in 'word' which then becomes part of your evidence , apprasial and it can be used to help you even more than you think it can!
I have no financial interests in any computer software company or hardware manufacturing company or Amazon.
LATEST UPDATE. 9.4.2016
You can now convert PDF files to word documents for free.
Go to www.pdftoword.com
And you can upload your PDF file to this website and it will email you back the document converted to word, FREE!