Reviewer: Paul H. Keckley, PhD (Vanderbilt University Medical Center)
Description: This is a book written for consumers to assist in their navigation of the health system, particularly their interactions with physicians and hospitals.
Purpose: To assist consumers in navigating the health system, the authors set out to provide a simple framework consumers can use to select doctors and hospitals and be attentive to treatment options and the system's safety and quality challenges. This is a highly worthwhile contribution to the literature available to consumers, written at a level anyone can understand.
Audience: The grammatical style suggests a consumer could comprehend the content at the 4th to 5th grade level, roughly consistent with writing accessible to consumers in Readers Digest and USA Today. The authors and editors have done a tremendous job of explaining otherwise complex concepts in simple terms.
Features: The book is primarily focused on self-care and ways consumers might choose between treatment options (including alternative/nonconventional therapies) and select doctors and hospitals. Though light on content about insurance and missing references to citations that could clarify/add depth to the authors' comments, this is nonetheless an excellent book worthy of reading by a consumer.
Assessment: This is a well written book on target for the consumer audience new to any understanding of the health system.