Edited By Drew Provan 4th edition
Published 2018 by Oxford University Press
Being a member of the superb Oxford Handbook series, I automatically assume this book will be very good and in fact put very simply, it is very good and certainly lives up to its heritage. It is an excellent book and runs to just under a 1000 page and is fairly substantial. The subject matter is excellent and in fact it is a subject which is highly relevant for many healthcare professionals in general disciplines such as general medicine as well as primary care. In fact, I have not seen that many books cover this important area (there may be more but I could have missed them) which is to cover clinical investigations. It is a fast-moving area with technology and new breakthroughs creating changes all the time. So, an updated textbook in the mould of an Oxford Handbook is very welcome.
As I said, this book does not disappoint and of course helps in explaining and interpretation of tests. If you think about it, the subject area is vast and it is easy to produce a massive textbook that could overwhelm the user both intellectually and financially. So the editor has done a great job of producing a compact, useful and yet seemingly very detailed review covering a huge landscape of medicine. In itself this is a terrific achievement and great credit goes to the editor and contributors. It is a book packed with facts and information on a topic, a clinical investigation text which is very useful to a lot of people.
As would be expected from an Oxford Handbook, this is aimed for the practical user, so in that case a front clinician would appreciate this book. It is also clinically orientated although has some relevant science, it is at its best when you are trying to help a patient or understand a topic yourself. As is usually the case in a book from this Oxford Handbook series, the price is modest and you get a lot for your money, essentially it is very good value. My only gripe is that I am sure some people would be prepared to pay a bit more and have bundled a web and app-based application for portable usage either online or on a mobile device like a smartphone.
Don’t be put off by the title handbook; this is a chunky but portable book that is full of useful information about the numerous tests we order on a daily as well as infrequent basis. I am sure many of us would like access to this book. Impressively, there are only 15 contributors and one editor for this new 4th edition. The net result is a book that many of us would want to own and a book in the right hands is likely to be used often.
Dr Harry Brown