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by Bob Levoy, Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Sudbury, MA.


The "Healthcare Practices" of the title is to be taken in its broadest possible sense; the book is relevant for anyone who manages the work of others in health care whether in the context of a single physician's practice or a department or division of a large hospital or medical center. The unifying theme, applicable to all managers and aspiring managers regardless of organizational size or structure, is the acquisition, management, and retention of people in the delivery or support of the delivery of medical care. Or, expressed in another manner, the book's theme addresses how to find and keep a good staff.


One of this book's principal strengths is its arrangement. Each of its major sections-Hiring, Managing, and Retaining-is divided into several chapters addressing important aspects of its overall topic. Each chapter is then subdivided into areas of concern numbered as the "secrets" applicable to that topic. The Hiring section, for example, covers from chapter 1, "Getting the Right People on Board," offering "secrets" 1 through 14, through chapter 7, "The New World of Work," comprised "secrets" 77 through 84. In this manner, the author offers advice for health care managers in 222 categories or subtopics, each of which can be read and absorbed in short order.


The majority of the "secrets" include not only advice but also suggested action steps to follow in implementing the ideas presented. There are also brief success stories presented to illustrate the value of much of the book's advice. And, potentially quite valuable to many newer managers are the "Hard Learned Lessons" appearing throughout the book.


One especially valuable chapter is chapter 6, "Hiring Mistakes to Avoid." In a very few brief paragraphs, the reader is offered clear guidance for avoiding problems in the legal minefield that interviewing has become in recent decades by ensuring that every question asked relates to one central theme: "How are you qualified to perform the job for which you are applying?"


Many readers, especially among working managers, may consider much of the advice offered as little more than common sense. However, there is bound to be something new and useful for even the most experienced of managers, and all managers might stand to be reminded that there are times when it seems there is nothing quite as uncommon as common sense.


The common-sense approach taken to the material is a decided strength of the book, and the material's arrangement is such that one can use it as a reference, quickly zeroing in on any topic of interest. The expressed intent of the book is well served in presenting practical, realistic, implementable advice. This book is not for the reader who wishes to explore management theory; rather, it is for the manager or aspiring manager who is concerned with the continuing task of finding and keeping valuable employees.