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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Ellen K. Murphy, RN, MS, JD (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
Description: This is a short (110 page), three-part book that provides context, field experience, and perspective on the effects of for-profit corporate healthcare on patients and professional caregivers today. Contributors include scholars, managers, clinicians, and consumers. They describe experiences and illuminate concerns of many participants in the current market-driven healthcare reform environment.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide "a wake up call to the American public about current realities of the health care system." Readers will find the contributors articulate voices for the experiences and frustrations being felt by patients, families, and providers in many hospitals today.
Audience: The editors identify the audience as the American public. In my opinion, the American public includes both professional providers and consumers of healthcare. The editors are two respected nursing leaders and a widely published journalist. They have assembled a well-selected group of contributors that includes the director of HCFA, recognized political commentators, medical and nursing scholars, practicing professional clinicians, and patients.
Features: The book is easy to read, but thoughtful and thought-provoking. It is sufficiently referenced to substantiate authors' assertions but does not approach the pedantic. All authors use a first-person conversational style when describing their personal experiences as well as some complex concepts. The contributors provide context and perspective rationale for the current situation.
Assessment: This book should indeed be read by the American public, whether professional healthcare providers and current or potential healthcare consumers. It is an accurate snapshot of what is happening in many healthcare institutions today, told in an easy to understand, articulate way. Consumers especially need to be aware of this reality, and the reasons for it, before they find it necessary to avail themselves of healthcare services. Healthcare professionals will find their frustrations with some factions of care today given forceful, but not strident, voice. Professionals will also benefit from the legal, ethical, economic, and political context analyses. All readers are encouraged to join in political action, publicity, and coalition building to prevent the abandonment of the patient in the evolving healthcare "system."