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From The CriticsReviewer: Patricia Wong, MD (Stanford University Medical Center)
Description: This is definitely one of the best dermatology books written for primary care providers I have read. I am impressed with the information it presents and the fact that it avoids the "dumbing down" I have seen in other books with the same intended goal. The editors have insured consistency in the way the material is explained throughout. Every chapter has very good color photographs, diagrams, and shaded boxes that summarize key points and provide guidelines for when to refer to a dermatologist. Important clinical considerations about what to be alert for when evaluating patients are highlighted in orange boxes.
Purpose: The purpose is to help primary care physicians and related medical professionals (physician assistants, nurse practitioners, etc.) appropriately evaluate skin problems, embark on the correct work-up to arrive at the correct diagnosis, and to propose reasonable treatment plans. These objectives are met.
Audience: The audience is healthcare professionals with no dermatological education. I personally think dermatology residents and medical students would benefit from this as well.
Features: The chapters are organized into broad topics such as insect bites, hair loss, pigmentary disorders, bullous diseases, etc., which avoids the pitfall of presuming that the nondermatologist knows what the correct differential diagnosis is ahead of time. The discussions hit the pertinent highlights of diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment. Clinical vignettes of common presentations of specific disorders are used as a foundation for explaining rationales of management and typical patient concerns. The risks of medications, biopsies, and similar aspects that should be considered are mentioned. The book covers the common skin problems very well, although it is a bit curious that it mentions multicentric reticulohistiocytosis, a rare condition, but omits any discussion of diabetic or thyroid skin conditions, which are far more common problems.
Assessment: So far, this is the best book I have read on educating nondermatologists on dermatology. And I have read too many that should not have been published. This has been written by expert clinicians and they have shared much of the information that is often found only in dermatology books. If you are a primary care provider and have always been mystified by dermatology, this book does an excellent job of distilling the important facts on the most common skin conditions you will encounter in your patients and provides superb instruction on learning some dermatology.