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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Carole Ann Kenner, PhD, RN, FAAN (The College of New Jersey)
Description: Now in its seventh edition, this book describes and comments on the U.S. healthcare system, beginning with the definitions of common terminology and ending with the projections of the healthcare system of the future. The previous edition was published in 2007.
Purpose: The book presents an overview of the U.S. healthcare system within a historical context, so that social changes and values are taken into consideration as it explores the system.
Audience: The audience is undergraduate students and medical and nursing students who might otherwise not get to study this subject in depth. Practicing health professionals and graduate students can benefit from this overview as well.
Features: After some definitions, the book moves through the expected topics of healthcare delivery systems, financing, workforce, and the push-pull factors at work in this field. A very good list of abbreviations at the beginning will help novice students with the material. The book goes into the changes due to the Affordable Care Act and healthcare reform. The Future of Nursing report by the Institute of Medicine is also cited, as well as the implications for the workforce of its recommendation that 80 percent of nurses be bachelors prepared by 2020. Humorous cartoons at the beginning of chapters help readers to recognize some of the strange situations that occur in the delivery of healthcare today.
Assessment: There are many books on the U.S. healthcare system, but few have the longevity of this one. It is easy to read and straightforward in its approach to difficult subjects such as the rise of the Tea Party and how that movement has impacted healthcare. This update is certainly needed as the landscape has changed dramatically since the previous edition was published in 2007.