Remember, each Wednesday, I respond to a question posed by a student. Please submit one or more if you would like. A student asks below:
If you were to introduce a few must-read books/papers in the field of health care management/policy, what were those be? What are the journals you frequently read and find useful?
This is hard to answer honestly and not sound really arrogant. I have yet to read any books in the health care management field that are worth reading through in their entirety. By the way, this is true of management books in general. It is my experience that management books have a germ of a good idea or one or two creative thoughts. You can get the main point by reading the introduction or maybe the first chapter. After that, they are extremely repetitive and often poorly edited.
My theory is that the people who write management books who are professors in business school need to produce a document that looks scholarly enough for them to get academic "credit". Or they are former business leaders or management consultants who need to produce a book with enough physical heft to charge a high price. Both types of people load up their books with tons of case studies or examples from various situations, all of which are designed to prove their underlying thesis. They seldom give examples that are counter to their stated premise or point of view and then have the rigor and discipline to present a persuasive argument that their thesis is correct nonetheless.
So, if you are looking for interesting observations about health care management, avoid the books and look for the shorter version in articles in the Harvard Business Review or the other management magazines. Read the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal to find stories of national interest regarding health care economics and policy. Your local newspaper may have some, too. Here in Boston, we are fortunate to have a newspaper, the Boston Globe, that has devoted significant reportorial resources to health care. They often provide perspectives on broader issues, but based on local examples. Finally, the Economist magazine often has good articles and offers the advantage of a global perspective. Their stories are usually very well researched and concisely written.
Among medical journals, JAMA and the New England Journal of Medicine will often have thoughtful articles about management and policy issues, usually written by and from the point of view of doctors.
Suggestions for our student from others out there?