By David Woods
On the other hand, the editor might be desperate… looking for someone capable of reading a book without lips moving, and with the potential – maybe – to provide illuminating commentary. For it’s true that book reviews and not obituaries are the real graveyard of publishing.
Nonetheless, there are certain guidelines to help you write a reader-friendly and reader-useful critique:
A sample book review, previously published in the British Medical Journal, is available here.
The first edition was published in the mid-1980s; this third edition reflects new techniques, the many different recommendations for performing cost-effectiveness analyses, and recommendations for formatting descriptions of cost-effectiveness analysis results.
A key feature is the description of cost-effectiveness analyses conducted using either patient level data (such as analyses that are conducted alongside randomized trials) or decision analytic modelling. The authors highlight the strengths and weaknesses of both types of studies and make clear the challenges that an analyst will face in either type of study.
This book provides a balanced view of what economic evaluation may provide to enhance healthcare resource allocation.
This text is required reading for students in my introductory cost-effectiveness course. Why? Because it combines a discussion of the United States Panel on Cost-Effectiveness in Health and Medicine’s recommendations, general readability, and an introduction to decision analysis.
First, for most students in an introductory course, knowing what the US Panel’s recommendations were and that they were the result of well-reasoned debate is sufficient. The US recommendations are likely to remain relevant to US audiences as they have been the only federal government-based recommendations.
Second, the Haddix et al. text is readable.
Third, the book provides an introduction to decision analysis, an integral part of many cost-effectiveness studies in the literature.
Finally, this is a useful text for an introductory cost-effectiveness course for anyone with no decision analysis background who needs to be aware of US recommendations.