Emory University Physician
Is Editor of Office Practice of Medicine, One of the Largest
Medical Textbooks of Its Kind In the Country
ATLANTA -- William T. Branch, MD, Carter Smith, Sr. Professor of Medicine
at the Emory University School of Medicine and director of the Division
of General Medicine for the Emory School of Medicine at Grady Memorial
Hospital, is editor of the newly published Office Practice of Medicine,
one of the largest, nationally recognized medical textbooks of its
kind. The book, published by the W. B. Saunders Company, is now in its
fourth edition and is bigger and more comprehensive and includes chapters
written by several Emory School of Medicine physicians.
There are 160 authors and
99 detailed chapters in the book, covering diseases and disorders of
every major body system and medical topics from gynecology to neurology.
The book is designed to help practitioners address the challenges of
primary care by enhancing their efficiency and clinical skills.
"Many people consider this
book to be the standard for outpatient medicine," said Dr. Branch, who
also serves as vice chairman for primary care at Emory, and wrote nine
chapters himself. "When I started this book I had a vision for it filling
a void, because there was no book on outpatient medicine at the time.
All of the textbooks in medicine up until then had been books that focused
on diseases and mostly from the perspective of hospitalized patients,
books that would cover infectious diseases, for example, from the point
of view of the different organisms. This book fills the void of dealing
with problems that are commonly encountered by the physician in practice."
The textbook specifically
focuses on clinical epidemiology and medical conditions that are not
covered in general medicine texts. Rather than focus on diseases, the
textbook focuses on symptoms with which a patient presents. Problem-oriented
chapters dealing with everything from headache to low back pain help
clinicians better analyze a patient’s condition and other pertinent
details, including questions to ask, assessing common disease symptoms,
and ordering and interpreting tests.
The expert contributors,
many of whom are from the Emory School of Medicine, Emory University
Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health and
Boston University School of Medicine, offer evidence-based approaches
to the prevention, diagnosis, and management of the most important adult
conditions seen in the primary care setting.
The textbook includes 16
new chapters and the inclusion of an expanded nationwide group of experts
as chapter authors. Some of the new chapters include Management of Ischemic
Heart Disease; Coronary Artherosclerosis: Effects of Aspirin, Oxidative
Stress, Alcohol, and Psychosocial Factors; Cough; Medical Disorders
of Pregnancy; Menopause and Hormone Replacement Therapy; Preoperative
Assessment and Care of the Surgical Patient; and Medical Care for Adolescents
and Young Adults. There also is a reorganized section on women’s health
that includes chapters on Intimate Partner Violence and Benign Breast
Dr. Branch said the book
serves a very important purpose.
"We’re not so interested
in explaining a disease process," he said. "For the practicing doctor,
what’s more important is how to diagnose and treat the disease once
it is encountered in the clinical setting. We also emphasize preventive
care, which is often not emphasized in textbooks."
Dr. Branch said that when
the book was first published in 1982, it was "quite radical" in its
approach. And while there are textbooks on the market that follow a
similar approach, Dr. Branch notes that his book is the most detailed
and makes the effort to provide substantial approaches to medical problems.
"Someone who once reviewed
the book told me he thought my book provided more information and belonged
on the doctor’s desk, as a book a doctor would use when he or she had
a patient and wasn’t sure what to do and wanted to spend more time researching
the problem," he said.
The book has sold 50,000
to 60,000 copies since it was first published.
"The book is designed to
explain how the experts approach a problem," Dr. Branch said. "If we’re
looking at headache, we’re trying to find out what does a true, world
known expert in headache do, in terms of diagnosing and treating a patient?
We’re looking for a way of understanding that and getting it out to
the practicing doctors, so they too will have that information. If we’re
looking at chest pain, we’re going to the world’s experts, cardiologists,
on how to evaluate a patient with chest pain. We’re looking for evidence
and things that people know that are truly helpful to the experts, which
the average practicing doctors may not know about."
Copies of the books are available
at Majors Bookstore in Atlanta, as well as online at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com,
and from Elsevier Science, a publisher of scientific, technical and
health information, at www.elsevier.com.
Dr. Branch hopes that medical
students, nurse practitioners and physicians’ assistants will also buy
the book for the useful information it contains.
"I think it’s the best edition
we’ve done," he said.