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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Shaun Grannis, MD (Indiana University Medical Center)
Description: This book provides the clinician a broad overview of the Internet and information technology as they relate to healthcare. A wide range of topics are covered, varying from accessing the Internet to performing research online. An abundance of online resources and references are provided for further exploration at the end of each chapter. The previous edition was published in 1997.
Purpose: The book provides the technically inexperienced healthcare provider a comprehensive discussion of the issues specifically relating to medical use of the Internet. As the Internet becomes ubiquitous in our lives, clinicians must understand how information will affect the practice of medicine and healthcare in general. This is a worthy, and relevant objective. The book begins with fundamental introductory concepts and expands into more complex issues such as patient communication and clinical research using the Internet. It also provides a valuable comprehensive glossary of technical terms defined using lay terminology.
Audience: According to the editor, the book is written for health professionals to address their changing communication and information needs. The content is applicable to a wide audience including medical students, resident physicians, physician assistants, and practicing physicians of all specialties who are interested in broadening their understanding of Internet technology. Further, allied healthcare professionals such as nurses and others actively involved in point-of-care health delivery would benefit from this book. The editor and contributing authors demonstrate appropriate knowledge and credentialing in the field of medical informatics. Dr. McKenzie has both edited and contributed content since the book's inception.
Features: The book begins with an in-depth overview of the history of the Internet and a clear description of the capabilities available via the Internet. These capabilities include e-mail, web-based medical records, telemedicine, and patient education. A general strength of this book is its use of non-technical language. Concepts are presented using easily understandable terms, and insightful analogies are provided when appropriate. Prior to each chapter a content outline called an "INFOpulse" is provided. To further the reader's understanding, a comprehensive glossary of technical terms using lay terminology is included.
Assessment: The book flows well. Concepts are presented in a vocabulary appropriate for the healthcare professional with no prior information technology background. It addresses the needs of the individual interested in learning about health-care related Internet issues. This book could easily form the basis for a Internet technology course in medical school or residency. In domains of information technology, particularly the Internet, the "state of the art" changes rapidly. (This concept of rapid change over a short time is called "Internet time.") Therefore, a third edition is justified, as a fourth edition will be justified in 2-3 years.