Addition to the Reading List?

September 30, 2006 at 10:43 am (Michael's Posts)

I met an amazing doctor at the Society of General Internal Medicine conference I went to yesterday (more to come on that, to be sure) and here’s a review from amazon.com of a book by a guy called Anthony Suchman. Sound good? Should we all read it?

From The Annals of Internal Medicine, January 5, 1999

Audience: Health care providers, including physicians, nurses, and social workers; health care administrators; and health care educators.

Purpose: To improve the quality of partnership processes within the health care system.

Content: This book is divided into five sections. The first section contains conceptual material that is generic to partnerships at all levels. Each of the four subsequent sections deals with partnerships at various levels in the health care system: clinician-patient partnerships, partnerships in health care teams, community health care system partnerships, and educational partnerships. The chapters contain a mix of theoretical discussions and practical examples. The authors come from diverse professional disciplines, geographic centers, and personal backgrounds.

Highlights: Four aspects of the book stand out. First, although many practitioners have expertise in promoting partnerships in a specific area, few have knowledge in all four areas discussed. Second, through the discussions partnerships at different levels, one recognizes the importance of the editors’ conceptual framework. Third, the book discusses important topics that are often neglected in similar books. For example, the chapters on spirituality, friends as patients and patients as friends, and guidelines for primary care physician-consultant relationships helped me better understand common but often ignored topics.

Finally, the book includes several innovative programs that a clinician, administrator, or educator could modify for his or her own purpose. The chapters on family systems case consultation and development of an educational consultative service for physicians about whom patients have repeatedly lodged complaints are especially useful.

Limitations: The book has some flaws endemic to an edited volume. Much of the background material on partnerships, their advantages, and the attitude needed to promote them is repetitive. Moreover, because the book is written for a somewhat general audience, some chapters are too basic for readers who are familiar with the field. The chapters on real-world experiences would benefit from more details on the obstacles that innovators faced and overcame. Related reading: Although numerous other books cover specific topics, I know of no other book that surveys partnerships so broadly.

Reviewed by: Robert M. Arnold, MD

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1 Comment

  1. Alexandra Coria said,

    Didn’t know where else to list this stuff, but wanted to give the authors a couple of resources to post to the sidebar, if people are interested in getting more linked into the global health advocacy world:

    The first is the Center for Global Development’s Global Health Policy blog: http://blogs.cgdev.org/globalhealth/
    Really good resource for keeping up on current financing debates in global health.

    The second is the HealthGAP website: http://www.healthgap.org/
    Goings-on of the HIV/AIDS activism community.

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