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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Allen Brinker, MD, MS (Private Practice)
Description: This text contains equal parts basic epidemiology and an overview of descriptive statistics for healthcare utilization.
Purpose: As stated, the intention is to introduce the student or healthcare administrator/manager to the notion of healthcare for populations.
Audience: Healthcare administrators and students are the intended audience.
Features: The first section includes a complete primer on epidemiology, with chapters on the current nomenclature and science of health assessment and health economics. The authors should be complimented on the ease at which mathematical statistics are described and outlined using real life examples. All new students of epidemiology can benefit from this section of the text. The second section includes chapters on the assessment of healthcare utilization based on setting of care (ER, hospital-adult, hospital-pediatric, worksite) and the specific needs of the aged. It is, however, a shortcoming that the authors do not explain in substantial detail the pervasive impact poverty and ethnicity maintained in the assessment of health and healthcare utilization and the limitations of observational information in general. The successful implementation of information from controlled studies (evidence-based medicine) into clinical practice remains the challenge for a system whose public perception is that of managed cost and not managed care.
Assessment: The first section is an enjoyable and readable primer on epidemiology. The second section, with chapters on utilization of healthcare, is informative and provides the groundwork for anyone inclined to begin study of healthcare utilization by objective means. The book does not, however, lend itself to the design or redesign of any healthcare system. The authors, both of whom have outstanding credentials and experience in this area, should be credited with an excellent, basic textbook, but perhaps an over-reaching title.