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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Thomas Dent, MD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This brief book focuses on hospital management issues, in particular the roles and responsibilities of the clinical director in British hospitals.
Purpose: The goal is to provide a textbook for physicians who are being introduced to management, particularly in the National Health Service in the United Kingdom. This is a worthy goal that is partially met but only in the context of the British health care system.
Audience: The author targets physician managers in the British National Health Service. There is little applicability to U.S. hospitals or physicians. The role of the generalist physician is ignored, because in the U.K. only consultants are involved in hospital management issues. This is a major deficiency, because the role of primary care physicians is pivotal to many health care management concerns in the evolving U.S. health care system.
Features: The book contains no photographs. There are a few tables, and the tables and diagrams presented are concise and understandable. The type is easy to read. The references, listed at the end of each chapter in order of citation, are recent and appropriate for their respective chapters. The table of contents is brief. The index is easy to use and lists all salient topics. The concept of total quality management, which is highly applicable to U.S. physicians in management, is discussed in only two pages. Other relevant topics, such as running meetings, are covered superficially with little substance. There is also no mention of hospital systems, which is an issue of current importance to many physicians in the U.S.
Assessment: As national health care reform proceeds in the U.S., physicians and hospitals are forming closer working relationships to address issues of managed care and quality. These new roles place demands on physicians for management skills that were never part of their formal training. A reference to address the needs of physicians in the changing health care environment would be most welcome. This book does not meet these needs, however, and could only be recommended for a British consultant audience.