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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Donald R. Frey, MD (Creighton University Medical Center)
Description: This is the sixth edition of Dr. Rakel's classic text, last published in 1995. This version continues its global approach to presenting the volume of knowledge inherent in the practice of family medicine.
Purpose: Once again, the author seeks to provide a comprehensive book on the specialty of family medicine and, as before, it clearly excels in this regard.
Audience: Although written for students and practitioners of family medicine, the book will be helpful to anyone wishing to have a comprehensive reference on primary care. If more subspecialists owned this work, one can only imagine the improved efficiency in patient care that would result. Once again, Dr. Rakel has assembled a distinguished team of authors to assist with the book.
Features: The book's strong community and holistic approach is underscored in the first 17 chapters, which deal with such issues as patient education, communication, and psychosocial influences. Chapters related to specific disease systems are well constructed and practitioner focused. Tables and illustrations are timely, but not overdone. References are current and helpful. The book's only area of concern is its section on managed care, which seems to suffer from a distinct industry bias.
Assessment: Establishing a comprehensive book for what is arguably the most comprehensive medical specialty on earth is a daunting task, but once again, this book is up to the challenge. Not only are the nuts-and-bolts problems which routinely confront family physicians well covered, entities which many practitioners may see but once in a lifetime are also clearly described. This work continues to be the best single reference for the specialty of family practice.