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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Bruce E. Johnson, MD (University of Kansas School of Medicine)
Description: With this new book, the editors deliver a manual covering diagnostic and therapeutic options for virtually all common medical problems encountered in adult primary care.
Purpose: The manual provides the busy primary care practitioner with a resource for information on more than 300 conditions or diseases. The material is presented in outline format for ease of use. The book is well suited as a quick reminder in a busy office.
Audience: The manual would be of interest to primary care practitioners. It is not comprehensive enough for instructional use by students or residents.
Features: There are a number of unique or admirable features. The organization is well thought out with chapters on diseases, symptoms, and procedures. Several appendixes list normal lab values. Illustrations of procedures are sharp and well drawn. Procedure CPT codes and disease ICD-9 are listed inside both covers. The type and layout is generally bright, orderly, and pleasing to the eye; unfortunately, the text appears cluttered by an over-use of highlighting (Pearls, Key Signs, etc.). The listed references in many cases are chapters in other textbooks with a paucity of recent journal articles.
Assessment: This new book has both laudable strengths and disquieting drawbacks. There is a remarkable quantity of information cleverly organized and briskly presented. It is appropriately titled a manual, designed for quick reference, not in-depth study. The approach is heightened by an outline format, without much qualifying text. The inclusion of descriptions and drawings of almost 60 procedures is welcome. Authored by more than 400 family practitioners and internists, the book exudes a sense of practicality. Having so many authors may be a drawback; topics tend to be superficial, reflecting the use of other textbooks as references and missing a deeper insight into the topic. The outline format is useful but inclines toward superficiality. (This is further heightened by the abundant use of highlighting, encouraging the eye to skip even what text is presented.) For the purposes outlined by the editor, this manual is acceptable — it is intended for the brief, necessary, "quick-look" but is not a broad comprehensive text.