Reviewer: Valerie L. Ng, PhD MD(Alameda County Medical Center/Highland Hospital)
Description: This is the second edition of a full treatise on evidence-based medicine as applied to the practice of laboratory medicine. The first edition was published in 2003.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide a comprehensive reference for evidence-based medicine, with special application and adaptation to the practice of laboratory medicine. These are worthy objectives, as laboratory medicine (like other medical specialties) has its own set of unique considerations requiring a customized approach for evidence-based practice. This book has nicely meets the editors' objectives.
Audience: It is intended to be useful to anyone interested in applying evidence-based medicine principles to the practice of laboratory medicine. In this regard, it has a wide appeal for anyone who is involved with laboratory testing from those inside the laboratory (clinical laboratory scientists, pathologists, laboratory medicine practitioners) to those using laboratory tests results to diagnose and guide therapy (physicians and allied health practitioners).
Features: This is a really cool book. In it you will find any background information, tool or example you need to apply evidence-based medicine to your laboratory medicine practice. There is a considerable amount of information here 23 chapters cover discreet topics related to evidence-based medicine. The standard traditional laboratory medicine topics of test sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values occupy a small portion of this book. The rest of the book includes a nice summary of the evidence-based medicine approach rooted in clinical epidemiology, lots of examples of how to frame clinical questions correctly so that key information can be analyzed for the answers sought, how to write or analyze a published article for adherence to evidence-based medicine tenets, etc. The focus on laboratory medicine was especially helpful to me. Now I know how to structure my approach when consulting on a clinical matter and using published literature to support my conclusions and recommendations. I'll certainly pay attention to the STARD guidelines, nicely detailed in this book, when submitting manuscripts for publication. I'll frequently refer to the discussions on pre- and post-test probabilities and may choose to alter how I relay laboratory results, using the informative likelihood ratio for the actual result obtained in addition to the traditional display of reference ranges.
Assessment: This is a great book to enhance your practice of laboratory medicine. I know I'll use it frequently since it nicely represents how we should be practicing evidence-based laboratory medicine today. I predict you will use it a lot too.