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The Health Care Handbook - A Clear and Concise Guide to the American Health Care System
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The Health Care Handbook - A Clear and Concise Guide to the American Health Care System

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  415 ratings  ·  37 reviews
The 2nd edition of the best-selling practical, neutral, and readable overview of the US health care system is now available. This updated edition of the Health Care Handbook covers:

• New sections on health IT, team-based care and health care quality
• A clear summary of health policy and the Affordable Care Act
• Inpatient & outpatient health care and delivery systems
• Healt
Paperback, 256 pages
Published 2012 by Washington University
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Beth Haynes
Oct 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: healthcare
A valiant effort from 2 (former)medical students to provide basic background on the US healthcare system - with the stated goal of presenting the material in a neutral, unbiased way. They did their best, and are to be commended on their effort and work. But neutral and unbiased it is not.

Most medical students enter their training with little idea of how healthcare is delivered or the extent and complexity of how medical care is payed for in the US. (Most doctors don't understand it either.) The
Jun 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was one of the most intellectually gratifying nonfiction books I've read in quite some time. Even in the Introduction you get a good sense of how these two doe-eyed, green medical professionals are going to approach the profuse amount of information that they've collected in trying to write this handbook for the John Everyman.

I am no stranger to medical terminology, but the way that these two authors (Askin & Moore) were able to break down and simplify some of the most complex (sometimes m
Apr 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read this after starting a new job in health insurance (switching from a completely different field); it eased some of my confusion and helped me ask better questions. It is what it says on the tin: Clear and concise.

There is no narrative, but if you're already motivated to ingest the information the authors make it possible to do so efficiently and more or less painlessly. In places it suffers from failure of imagination when discussing the costs/benefits of particular policies or potential a
Jul 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: on-medicine
I am so pleased by this book. Everything confusing about the health care system is explained is plain language, and it doesn't make any assumptions about things you may or may not know (i.e. a nutritionist vs. a dietician, what CNS stands for, etc.). The only thing that kind of sucked was that I had to read it on a Kindle. ...more
Jacob Greenmyer
Feb 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: healthcare
A great book for anyone that wants to delve into our healthcare system. NO it is not a particularly captivating book unless you are interested in learning more about our healthcare system. YES it is very useful. One of my favorite parts was that it was unbiased. Very glad I read it before medical school
Patrick Waites
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: healthcare
It is refreshing to read a book that is exactly what it claims to be: a well-organized, clearly written overview of the US healthcare system. It is even more remarkable that it was written by two aspiring medical students, who had yet to gain the years of experience with the system that some of their readers may have. I did find that a lot of the information was familiar to me, as someone who has been a working adult for 30 years, but that is no reason to penalize the book's rating. It definitel ...more
A first-rate intro to health care in the U.S., with chapters on the following:

1. Health Care Systems and Delivery
2. Health Care Providers
3. Insurance and Economics
4. Research, Pharmaceuticals, and Medical Devices
5. Policy and Reform

Quite an accomplishment, especially since the authors are in medical school! Great resources for further reading too.
Apr 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Clear and concise. This book was an invaluable part of my interview prep for the medical school application process. The authors laid out a very easy to understand version of the basic structure of the US healthcare system.
Aug 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
An excellent primer for anyone interested in learning about how the U.S. healthcare system works (or doesn't work...); concise and easy to read with numerous figures, charts, and tables. The section that explains the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is particularly useful. ...more
Oct 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Very informative if you want to get an overview of the U.S. health care system. Goes over new health care law and other health care issues (e.g. insurance, payments, etc.)
Ben Munger
Feb 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very nice short overview of the healthcare system. It includes some information that is hard to access such as the financing system for Graduate Medical Education.
The curse of my job, I can't contain my curiosity on seeing how accurate this is. ...more
Feb 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: healthcare
A clearly written survey of the structure of the US healthcare system, including the impacts of recent reforms.
Jul 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another review from the back catalog...

This is the one resource I recommend if someone is asking to get a better high-level understanding of the US health care system. It covers the basic entities and dynamics (providers, payers, regulators, hybrid entities, payment reform, EMRs) of the US system quite well, and is the only guide of this level I've read that does it in a somewhat impartial way. This book does have certain policy leanings, and is a bit more statist than I'd like, but it does a ve
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As I now work in health care, I found this book to be an amazingly helpful quick guide to how health care in America works. While there were lots of definitions and tons of acronyms (a symptom of government agencies), this book gave me a good overview while allowing me to dive in deeper to particular sections of interest. I think it would make for a good reference book in the future, and as time permits, I hope to dive into the suggested readings.

I also recommended this book to my mom who I tho
John A Stern
May 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great Introduction to a Complex Industry

If you are looking for a fast but effective introduction to healthcare systems, this is it! From Politics to Structure, this touches on it all.
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Literally everyone I know should read this book. All Americans should read this book. If you have ANY opinion about health care but aren't sure you know the facts, you should read this book. ...more
Read for Public Health class in medical school; actually very painless and pretty good layout for learning.
Dylan Macalinao
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great, concise summary of the U.S. healthcare industry. Recommend this book to anyone who simply wants to learn why Americans pay so much for healthcare.
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good concise overview of American healthcare system
Tammy Van Dyk
Good high level overview for those interested in healthcare and issues they may face
Brenden Wright
Aug 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good overview of the medical system. As a future medical student, it has helped me gain a broad understanding of the field that I wish to enter, but the structure and the struggles.
Alison Leung
Sep 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book and I learn a lot of healthcare kwnodlege.
Tony Y
Dec 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Accessible and informative.
Mar 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: health-medicine
Honestly a GREAT accomplishment. As someone who works in the healthcare space, it's a testament to the complexity of the field that good overviews of how healthcare works in America are essentially non-existent. How impressive then, that the first such book I've come across, was written by two medical students DURING their studies!!! As friends to newly minted doctors, knowing how difficult it is just to fulfill the obligations to medical school, I tip my hat to you Drs. Askin and Moore. You've ...more
Apr 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Delivers on its promise: a clear and concise overview of the nation's health care sector.

The authors bend over a bit too far in describing both sides of the Obamacare debate. (The CBO doesn't always underestimate costs of new programs. The costs of both Medicare Part D and Obamacare itself have come in under projections.)

But that's a minor complaint. Overall, this is an excellent primer on how all the pieces of the health care sector fit together (or don't fit together, as the case may be).
Jul 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a great read to accustom oneself to the vast healthcare world, including hospitals, research and development, pharmaceuticals, insurance, ACA, etc. I read the first edition, which dates the material. The topic is tough to write unless you are looking to continually update the writing, which appears they are doing with newer editions. The authors did well at writing without bias. ...more
Dec 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
The title says it all, this is indeed a clear and concise guide to the American health care system. A little dry - best paired with anecdote-rich longreads. ...more
Zach McGillis
May 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic overview of the current state of the healthcare system. Author does an excellent job of providing a high level summary of the layout of the system and describes the background of how it came to be the way it is.
Josh Elder
May 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Great primer for anyone trying to develop a better understanding of our complex health care system. Takes you through key players, industry dynamics, current controversies and a look at the affordable care act and it's likely impact. ...more
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