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Journal of the Academy of Hospital Administration

Hospital and Health Services Administration Principles and Practice (book review)

Author(s): Shakti Gupta* Rajiv Kumar jain** Sidhartha Satpathy***

Vol. 13, No. 1 (2001-01 - 2001-06)

Syed Amin Tabish, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2001. Rs. 1995, Pages 959+ix

Reviewed by: Shakti Gupta* Rajiv Kumar jain** Sidhartha Satpathy***

Here's a winner. This book, one of the first of its kind in hospital and healthservices management, empasizes the need to continuously enhance knowledge and skills to increase organizational effectiveness by applying modern techniques, derived from behavioral sciences and business administration.

Medical science has made unprecedented progress during the last two decades of the twentieth century, leading to phenomenal improvement in human health. These improvements, together with the ensuing changes in demography, have dramatically altered patterns of disease epidemiology and disease burden. Health care organisations are thus increasingly required to concentrate on evidence-based healthcare and cost effective service.

Dr. Syed Amin Tabish needs to be congratulated for single handedly completing the gigantic task of producing a book of this size and depth for Indian policy makers, planners, hospital administrators, healthcare professionals, and students. The book is rich in content. The style of presentation is user friendly and the language is simple and lucid. Though one feels addition of highlighted boxes, more schematic diagrams, and colour photographs would have made the understanding of the subject better.

The book is divided into 8 sections, viz., Health Planning: Past, Present and Future; Hospital Management: Principles and Practice; Managing Health Care Technology; Management of Organizational Behaviour; Modern Approach to Quality; Health Care Reforms; Research for Health, and Medical Ethics. This in itself is a daring effort in as much as it breaks the myth of separate disciplines of health administration, hospital administration and business administration.

Dr. Tabish rightly states in the Preface to the book "Not everyone can be an administrator, it takes a certain blend of skills and a great deal of sensitivity to motivate and lead people to achieve success. Advances in medical technology, new thinking on community care and more stringent targets for controlling expenditure means, that the ingenuity and determination of health care manager are continually called into play".

The chapters like 'Towards Rational Technology in Health Care', 'Designing Health Care Organizations for Excellence', Health, Care in America, Britain and Canada, Australia, China and Sri Lanka, and 'Medical Ethics: Challenges and Response' are insightful, rich, full of innovative ideas and trailblazers. These are also evidence of original thinking by Dr. Tabish.

This book is a great advance in quality from earlier books by Dr. Tabish viz., 'Handbook of Emergency Medicine' and 'Planning, Organization and Management of Hospitals'. Dr. Tabish' experience of having worked in UK, USA, and Middle East, besides India, is clearly visible in the style, content, orientation and presentation of the material in the book.

This book should find a permanent place in the libraries of all medical colleges and teaching hospitals. But, equally importantly this should be available and accessible to all health care services administrators in Government, Semi Government, Autonomous, Corporate, Non Corporate and Private Sector health care organizations.

In future editions of the book, and we are sure there shall be many of them, Dr. Tabish should consider some of the shortcomings in the chapters related to legal aspects of Health Care where Consumer Protection Act (1986) has not been covered; and Biomedical waste management: the challenges ahead, where the Biomedical waste (management and handling) rules (1998) have been entirely excluded. The chapter on Ambulance series is rather sketchy and needs to be totally revamped with additional inputs including modern concepts. Similarly the sections on Medical Ethics and Research for Health need to be strengthened by the addition of recent trends.

One can certainly foresee this book becoming a benchmark amongst the books in the subject of Hospital and Health Administration; especially in the developing countries. However, Dr. Tabish may also consider maturing it a multi-author book with board of editors on the lives of Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. We feel there was a definite need for a reference treatise of this nature and this book admirably meets it. Certainly Dr. Tabish deserves congratulations for the same.

* Addl. Prof., Deptt. of Hospital Admn., AIIMS.
* Deputy Chief Medical Director, Indian Railways Medical Service,
E-mail: [email protected]
*** Asstt. Prof., Deptt. of Hospital Admn., AIIMS
E-mail: [email protected]

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