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From The CriticsReviewer: Carole Ann Kenner, PhD, MSN, BSN (Northeastern University Bouve College of Health Sciences)
Description: This introduction to healthcare organization and delivery in the U.S. takes a public health/population focus. The previous edition was published in 2008.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide an introduction to the U.S. healthcare delivery system and the external forces, such as sociopolitical, that shape it.
Audience: The intended audience is health professions and health administrator students, but it also would be appropriate for policy students.
Features: The book moves from the typical overview of healthcare delivery in the U.S. to external forces that have shaped it, such as the Great Depression, the managed care movement, and the Health Care Reform Act of 2010. The next few sections outline the origins of the hospital system, medical education, other health professions and their role in healthcare, the financing of healthcare, and differences in acute care versus community-based long-term, mental health, and public health care. The final sections are devoted to research in patient safety and quality as well as conjecture about where healthcare will be in the future. The book offers a snapshot of the changes in this edition upfront, section by section, making it easy for readers of previous editions to pinpoint the new material. The authors are also clear that they are not discussing each discipline's unique contribution. However, a lot of emphasis is placed on medical education and academic health centers.
Assessment: There are many books on the market that address U.S. healthcare from a public health perspective. This one is easy to follow and outlines the key features students need to understand. It does not discuss the impact of stimulus money and the need to close the gap between clinical translational research and bench research, two aspects that are clearly driving healthcare today. Yet, despite these shortcomings this is a good foundational text for health professions and policy students.