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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Janet Kim, MD (University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine)
Description: This book reviews the most commonly encountered outpatient medical problems, using a problem-based approach. It also focuses on other pertinent primary care issues such as ethics and clinical reasoning.
Purpose: The authors state their intent to dispel the misconception that the vastness of primary care makes it "impossible to gain a handle on" by defining its major content, as well as the misconception that "primary care lacks the ferment and dazzling breakthroughs so evident in the specialties"; they allude to the many intellectual challenges and research opportunities available.
Audience: By including more than 100 contributors, the majority of whom serve as primary care physicians and medical educators, this book uses the knowledge base of a large pool of credible caregivers working on the front lines of medicine. The contributors appropriately target their book at medical students on ambulatory care rotations. However, this is a book that could also be used by anyone seeking a quick and broad review of primary care medicine.
Features: Each chapter begins with a case history and brief list of questions and ends with a few research questions. In addition to standard text, it is adequately illustrated and includes many well-organized tables and figures that present information in a more interesting and accessible manner.
Assessment: This book is of good quality and reaches its goal as a broad overview of problems in outpatient medicine. It is thorough yet succinct, with most chapters being a few pages in length. Its approach to evaluation and management strategies matches the clinic setting for which it is aimed. Because of the breadth of the subject matter, it therefore tends to be brief and lack in-depth material regarding clinical manifestations and therapy. It is not and should not be used as a complete medical resource. References are not listed but suggested readings are. Although the majority of the authors tend to come from the same institution, this fact does not appear to bias the material. This text is useful as a springboard for tackling the subject of primary care medicine, and I recommend it for those wanting a manageable handbook of primary care problems.