But why is Evernote only a near-perfect tool for doctors? While Evernote has many privacy safeguards in place, it is not compliant with HIPAA, the United States' medical privacy law. While understandable — receiving HIPAA certification is not simple — this is, unfortunately, a big deal. Although communication to the Evernote servers is encrypted and access is protected, transmitting protected health information to the Evernote servers is not allowed (in the United States, at least — see AppleQuack's Evernote tips below).
Until Evernote receives certification — the cryptic quote from customer support was, "At this time we do not plan to pursue HIPAA certification for our (consumer) Evernote service" — here's an alternative solution. (And by all means, please suggest others if you think of them.)
- Install Evernote to an encrypted account with a strong password. (On the Mac, you would create a secure account which uses the FileVault service.)
- Create a Notebook in Evernote which does not sync to the Evernote servers.
- Use this account and this notebook for all protected health information.
If Evernote were HIPAA-compliant, what other uses could doctors find for it? AppleQuack, an excellent productivity site for doctors written by a Dr. Cris Cuthbertson, an Australian surgeon, has a list of "20 Ways Surgeons Should Use Evernote." (Being in Australia, she doesn't need to comply with HIPAA.) Here are a few:
- Photograph your operation notes
- Remember procedure and disease codes
- Keep patient information handouts accessible
- Keep patient demographics
- Remember treatment protocols
- Photograph or scan business cards
What other uses have you found for Evernote?