Book Review - The Hands-on Guide to Data Interpretation

This book provides a succinct synopsis of the vast amount of data clinicians encounter, says Dr Mehul Mathukia.

The Hands-on Guide to Data Interpretation
The Hands-on Guide to Data Interpretation

This book has been written by a group of junior doctors who chose to address interpretation of the vast amounts of clinical data that clinicians encounter every day. I found it a useful reference tool in dealing with all those haematology and biochemistry results that we see in our daily practice.

It is pocket-sized, yet comprehensive. With care of more complicated medical conditions being transferred to the community, this sort of book will be very useful for GPs.

Clinical scenarios
The book is divided into systems and the approach is logical. What I find most impressive is that the authors have been intelligent in the topics they have included, selecting the most common conditions as well as clinical scenarios doctors tend to struggle with. At the start of each chapter is a summary of the topics covered.

It is written in a readable and simplistic style and the format is clear and concise. There is a plethora of tables, diagrams and charts. I particularly liked the flowchart to differentiate between Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, the summary of antibiotics and the tables for interpreting the minefield that LFTs can be.

Scattered throughout the book are the various mnemonics that we all learnt at medical school, such as 'GET SMASHED' for the causes of acute pancreatitis.

This is just the sort of handbook I wish I had had at medical school and during my clinical training. It is a very succinct synopsis of the common things that clinicians encounter, explaining various clinical examination findings, interpretation of blood results and other investigations, including radiology, ECGs, pleural, ascitic and lumbar puncture fluid.

The beauty of this book is that it effectively simplifies the subject matter and gives you an at-a-glance approach to the task in hand.

Overall, an absolute must for every GP's bookshelf, but also a pertinent book for medical students. I wait with anticipation for an iPhone app.

  • Dr Mathukia is a GP principal in Ilford, Essex
Online Giveaway

GP and Wiley-Blackwell are giving away five copies of The Hands-on Guide to Data Interpretation by Dr Sasha Abraham, Dr Kunal Kulkarni, Dr Rashmi Madhu and Dr Drew Provan


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