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March 25, 1992

Interdisciplinarity: History, Theory, and Practice

Author Affiliations

University of California San Francisco


by Julie Thompson Klein, 331 pp, $34.95, paper $16.50, ISBN 0-8143-2087-2, Detroit, Mich, Wayne State University Press, 1990.

JAMA. 1992;267(12):1681-1682. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03480120121049

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Medicine has evolved from the undertaking of the individual practitioner to a state in which many disciplines become involved in administering both diagnostic and treatment services. It has become a standard of care in hospital and clinic-based practice to utilize a multidisciplinary approach to medical care.

Multidisciplinary modes of practice, however, do not ensure that participants interact cooperatively, or with the exclusive purpose of patient benefit. The usual mode of interaction within medical academic and clinical environments promotes individualism, protectionism, and some degree of isolation, not infrequently to the detriment of patient care.

The stated purpose of this book is to provide a synthesis of theories and methodologies that promote a growing permeability of boundaries and that allow for intellectual accommodation. Health care professionals have been turning to interdisciplinary intervention approaches for several reasons, but the most compelling in medicine is the need to solve problems that are beyond the