Reviewed by Dr Harry Brown
The Oxford handbook series is well known and there are numerous books available which cover a significant number of specialities. The content is highly respected and the books are well known for their practical advice when dealing with a patient and their problems. Of course the time when you want these excellent books, they may not be directly available. Ideally they should be in your pocket or in your case but that may not always be practical, especially if you need more than one.
The solution is digital and a very elegant solution is provided by this digital publisher, Medhand. For this review I had access to the Oxford Handbooks of Clinical Medicine, Endocrinology and Diabetes, Emergency Medicine, General Practice and Palliative care. By digital access this was not on a website but on a mobile device, in my case an iPhone but was also available on my iPad. Since it is more likely that you will have your phone with you or easily accessible, then these books are highly and easily accessible, a huge and well appreciated bonus.
Even better the full content is downloaded to my device, in my case I used it on my iPhone. This meant that I was not dependant on Internet access as all the data was available off line on my phone. This also allows speedy searching and will work even in the disconnected “airplane” mode.
The books were expertly converted to a digital environment, so they could be easily viewed in the screen and quite readable. In fact the syringe driver section in the Palliative Medicine book stretches across two pages across the full width and yet is easily readable on the iPhone, with a bit of scrolling. Searching is not surprisingly, fast and navigation is easy and intuitive. In fact the transformation from traditional book to what is effectively an iPhone app, is very well done. A quick check on the phone can easily help to provide advice on a clinical problem. As a bonus, I also found a way of searching across all the books.
So what are the downsides? Well you have to be a user of a digital product and be prepared not to access the book and of course there is a cost. Also check you are purchasing the latest edition of the book.
All in all, this is an excellent offering and if you are a regular smartphone or tablet user (the books are available on the Apple store and Google Play store) then this could be something that is well worth considering.
Dr Harry Brown