Clinical Medical Notes

Hey there.

So for a bit of background, I’m a medical student who is in hospital full time. I have previously relied on Anki + Q banks to help me pass my exams and these have really done the trick. I have recently been researching Obsidian and love how the notes are permanent and easy to navigate/link etc. My biggest gripe with Anki is how every note is structured in the form of a question in one way or another.

So my question is: is there a way that anyone would recommend using Obsidian to take notes (along with Anki) to take clinical medical notes? We get given a list of learning outcomes e.g. Fever in a child or Loss of Voice and are expected to cover common differentials, treatments, management plans etc.

I am only asking this as this sort of ‘knowledge management’ seems to differ from taking more ‘abstract’ thoughts from books and such, which are more commonly discussed when talking about Obsidian.

Thanks in advance and I’ll happily answer questions if it helps provide clarity!

(P.S. I am aware of Obsidian to Anki etc. and I happy with inputting cards on Anki, and still intend to use it)


why not use Obsidian in combination with the “spaced repetition”- plugin?
With this plugin you don’t need to write questions.
The heading can be the question or a “::” between items would be detected als Q & A.
I use this for notes in Obsidian, where there are facts to study inbetween.

I think Obsidian (or linked notes in general) can be really useful for what you’re trying to do. So you could take fever, for instance, and connect it to all the possible diagnoses. Likewise, treatments could be linked to the various diseases you use them with.

Practically, you could search for various symptoms in the links you’ve built and build a good differential.

I’m (slowly) refiling my notes in a similar way - connecting them to areas of practice, so that, as I’m discussing some patients on rounds, I can quickly connect (hopefully recent) articles to a teaching point or plan of care. In some ways, I’m really just recreating a textbook, but with references (and my quick notes/comments on them) at the ready.

Hope that helps a little.

Thanks everyone for the replies!

I’ve thought about using the spaced repetition plugin but am really hesitant to move from anki.

I like the idea of implementing my notes and linking then etc. I think that was my original plan but it’s nice to have some affirmation!

Hey thanks for your reply! When you discussed linking articles, are you using a zettelkasten method or something different?

Also I’m thinking of using MOCs which it sounds like you have sort of done?

My notes are at least influenced by zettelkasten, if not yet a proper zettelkasten. I hope to get there eventually, but I’m definitely in early days.

I think, in your described case, MOCs can be helpful. For me, it’s a pretty natural development. There are just natural levels of my field I want to take notes on, but still broad categories. There are definitely connections between areas (medications for different uses/disease treatments is a great example), but definitely clear hierarchical groups. I’m not even sure I had an understanding of MOC’s when I started making what I’m making, and I would definitely say that my MOCs don’t have overarching notes and summaries and ideas in them, but, for what I’m building, that’s fine.

I’m creating a reference framework for articles I want to remember or at least to have key ideas when I’m thinking about things. I discovered I kept saving the same articles when a clinical question came up. As I build my system, I’ve started to alleviate that problem (still incorporating articles I’ve collected over the years and new ones).

Overtime, I have no doubt the system I have will evolve, particularly pulling more random ideas of my own together and integrating them into all these reference notes.

Hope that helps.

I use Obsidian’s plugin integration with Anki. Here is my workflow:

  1. I write all my notes on a given topic in one file using the headings to create structure. I will name the file after its lecture and a tag for the specialty it is under.
  2. I will write the notes in a question and answer format adding a #card to generate a flashcard in Anki. Sometimes I will use the mindmap plugin to visualize.
  3. After I am done with all my notes I will use the note refractor to generate subfiles(backlinks) of the headings.
  4. Whenever I am writing on a specific disease I will use a template with the following
  • Definition(pathofysiologi, epidemiology, classifikation)
  • Clinical findings
  • Investigation
  • Management
  • Complications

I find myself writing “evergreen notes” with long titles detailing principles of management as I go on. I find it quite impractical to write everything about a condition in one single note.

For example, I could talk about the principle of managing someone with fluid overload and the various complications /comorbidities that could steer the management either way.

1 Like

Thanks for your reply - I was thinking of doing something similar! With regards to Anki, I am a big believer in the cloze deletion. I believe this is possible, but do you find that when you look back at the note, you find the formatting annoying? I could’ve just totally misinterpreted you, so sorry if that’s the case!

Yeah I think I was going to do something along those lines too. Thanks, it’s really nice to see the different ways people are going about it!

As a doctor, i find obsidian to be a little too much for creating notes on everything. Because it creates clutter and confusion.
Plus recall is limited and obfuscated.

My workflow is this :

  • I have created a sort of supertext in onenote , as its best for annotations and images. ( which obsidian lacks/ or is too time consuming to do )

  • One note has the fastest search feature on the PC

  • I use marginnotes 3 as my primary PDF reader app - where i read and annotate
  • Margin notes export features are really good. i export all the text to onenote.
  • Also Marginnotes can AUTOMATICALLY create ANKI cards that you can export as a deck.
  • I use it for CASE PAPERS - helps me interconnect diseases and symptoms.
  • I use it for CLlNICAL pearls
  • and DISEASE scripts only.

So that i can retrieve a script in a very fast manner.


Thanks for contributing! I’m sure when I graduate and actually begin working as a doctor I’ll be in a similar boat. At the moment though I’m going to attempt to have my relevant notes in obsidian with MOCs as a way to maintain structure.

Also I’ve never heard of marginnotes and it looks amazing, so thank you for bringing that to my attention.