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A Systems Thinking Approach to Designing Clinical Models and Healthcare Services

1
The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Lebanon, NH 03756, USA
2
Department of Computer Science, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755, USA
Systems 2019, 7(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems7010018
Received: 29 October 2018 / Revised: 1 March 2019 / Accepted: 14 March 2019 / Published: 24 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systems Thinking)
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Abstract

Chronic diseases are on the rise, increasing in number and treatment regimen complexity. Consequently, the needs of patients with chronic diseases are increasing and becoming more complex and multi-faceted. Such chronic conditions require addressing not only the physical body, but also psychosocial and spiritual health. The healthcare delivery system, however, organically organized into departments based on physical organ systems. Such a configuration makes it ill-suited to provide comprehensive multi-faceted healthcare services that span multiple departments and specialties (e.g., podiatry and endocrinology for diabetes; primary care and psychiatry for behavioral health; and palliative care physicians, chaplains, and social workers for end-of-life care). To deliver new services, the medical field typically designs new clinical models to base its new services on. Several challenges arise from typical approaches to designing healthcare services and clinical models, including addressing only single conditions, describing models only at a high-level of abstraction, and using primarily narrative documents called text-based toolkits for implementation. This paper presents and uses systems thinking as an alternative strategy to designing clinical system models and healthcare services to alleviate many of the current design challenges in designing integrated services for chronic conditions. An illustrative example taking a clinical model and describing it as a system model is presented. View Full-Text
Keywords: systems thinking; systems engineering; healthcare system design; clinical models; socio-technical system; model-based systems engineering systems thinking; systems engineering; healthcare system design; clinical models; socio-technical system; model-based systems engineering
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Khayal, I.S. A Systems Thinking Approach to Designing Clinical Models and Healthcare Services. Systems 2019, 7, 18.

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