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Systems Thinking Healthcare
â€śSystems Thinking (ST) is an appreciation of the dynamics and the interdependencies in any system. Health means â€śwholeâ€ť and is a concept that encapsulates flows, balance, economy and ecology; and the human body is a complex system of interdependent parts – each with a specific role and contribution for the general benefit. The human body demonstrates amazing adaptability and operates without a plan – the parts operating together without needing external direction or instruction. But when something goes wrong in one part of the system the whole becomes unbalanced, the collective performance deteriorates and symptoms of illness arise. Even a minor problem can seriously impair a finely balanced system if the problem occurs in a critical component. The process of healthcare is to use the symptoms to help diagnose the cause of the imbalance and to intervene to steer the human body system back towards balance; while at the same time recognising that an ill-chosen or an ill-timed intervention can push the system further out of balance – possibly to the point where the system goes out of control and is unable to maintain its integrity i.e. death. The same principles apply to any system – including the system of healthcare itself. To achieve only positive outcomes reliably and consistently in the face of a constantly changing context of both knowledge and expectation requires skill and dedication. That is why it is difficult and why it is so rewarding to work in healthcare. Simon Doddsâ€ť
Simon Dodds International Healthcare Systems Thinking Specialist Consultant – General Surgeon and Clinical Director (Foundation Trust with Multi Site Multi Specialities employing 10,000 + staff).