The purpose of this volume, as stated by the authors, is "to make clear that rendering effective medical care requires more than technical competence and mastery of new biomedical knowledge. It also does and will require an understanding of the social forces that influence the acquisition of illness, the delivery and use of medical services, the scope of provider responsibilities, provider-provider and provider-patient interactions, patient outcomes in treatment, and the many ethical issues confronting medicine. It also will require a willingness to become socially and politically engaged in efforts to better the public's health." In addition, the authors identify means by which these goals can be achieved.
The book is organized into three parts. Part 1 focuses on health maintenance, care seeking, and becoming a patient. It provides an excellent synthesis of the literature in these areas. Part 2 identifies major aspects of caring for and being a patient. This