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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Vincent F Carr, DO, MSA, FACC, FACP (Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences)
Description: In outlining the evolution of hospital medicine as a specialty, this book presents a new perspective on medicine, moving away from the updated literature-based physiology and pharmacology that traditional medicine textbooks use and toward a more practical, inpatient-based approach at a time when cost-effectiveness is under constant scrutiny.
Purpose: As a current summary of the practice of hospital-based medicine, this is a seminal book for those engaged in inpatient medicine and those who have an interest in focusing their careers in this area. The book masterfully covers all the essential topics, along with the underlying philosophies, that have brought hospital medicine into being.
Audience: The audience is clearly those who are practicing this level of inpatient care and those who are considering it, such as residency staff, nursing staff, and ancillary care technicians. The book assumes a significant amount of familiarity with medical anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology.
Features: In its thorough discussion of the underlying tenets of hospital medicine, this book is divided into six overarching parts: systems of care; medical consultation and co-management; clinical problem-solving; approach to the patient at the bedside; hospitalist skills; and clinical conditions. Sections in each part cover specific topics and the integration of inpatient medicine with other aspects of outpatient medicine, long-term care, bioterrorism considerations, emergency preparedness, wartime medicine, etc. There is a tremendous number of intuitive tables and figures, making this an ideal book for the visually oriented reader, and the well-balanced amount of text is helpful for those who are more oriented to reading prose to obtain information. Suggested readings end each chapter, but there are not a lot of direct bibliographical references. The photos are well-presented, full-color depictions. The one area that I felt came up short is the one dedicated to procedures, although many other books cover these areas so that it may not be a significant problem. However, it leads to my last comment, which is that depending on static pictures to describe procedures is outdated. The book could be enhanced significantly by making it available as a web-based resource that included videos of the procedures.
Assessment: Overall this is a superb, seminal book for hospitalists, well worth the cost, that covers the very diverse aspects of inpatient medicine and clearly outlines how it differs from other specialties such as outpatient primary care medicine.