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From The CriticsReviewer: Eugene C. Rich, MD (Creighton University Medical Center)
Description: This is a relatively brief (320 page) introductory textbook on the U.S. healthcare system written for students in the health professions.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide a text for introductory courses on the U.S. healthcare system for students entering the health professions, including public health, medicine, nursing, dentistry, pharmacy, and allied health.
Audience: As such, the audience is students in the health professions.
Features: To facilitate its use as a teaching text, the authors have organized this book in a succession of chapters intended to stand alone as reviews of specific subjects, or when read sequentially, to build a comprehensive understanding of the U.S. healthcare system. Therefore, this book begins with two general chapters followed by a series of topics organized around different structural features of the delivery system (e.g., hospitals, ambulatory care, medical education, etc.). The book also includes chapters on general topics, such as healthcare personnel, finance, and healthcare research, and concludes with a brief reflection on the future of U.S. healthcare. There is a helpful list of abbreviations at the end, which can assist students grappling with the alphabet soup of the U.S. healthcare system.
Assessment: The authors' effort to organize this text in chapters that stand alone and provide incremental information poses a challenge to the book as a coherent whole. As a result, key topics (the aging U.S. population, Medicare, managed care) receive brief and overlapping discussion in several chapters, rather than focused, thorough treatment. Other important developments such as physician assistants, nurse practitioners, the NIH, and the biotechnology industry receive limited attention. References for some chapters are quite limited and often do not include key source material for students who may wish to explore the topic further.