Complexity in Health Care Systems
Hadassah University Hospital
Health care systems (HCS) are complex systems with many independent agents each interacting with the others, occasionally inducing changes in some, and creating complex adaptive systems (CAS) containing emergent properties potential. Amongst independent agents in HCS are language, structure, logic, and social order. Each is fraught with fundamental problems, leading to famous paradoxes. Some of these parameters are initial conditions in CAS, which can be, but do not have to be, sensitive to changes in initial conditions leading to future significant effects. It is still impossible to predict the appearance of emergent properties from independent agent behavior, and evolving HCS can thus turn undesirable and fail. Much of all of this applies to other social systems.
However, there are systems with foreseeable behavior: uniform, repetitive, and nested ones. These are simple systems with reducible computations for predicting their future development. In HCS, one needs to reduce unpredictable developmental failure by emulating such simple systems through the implementation of their basic qualities.
(April 20, 2004)