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Lori Rayl
Western Governors University

Relationship between system theory and healthcare delivery in U.S.

Systems theory can be seen as a model for improving quality in the United States (US) healthcare system. Systems theory is based upon systems thinking that relies on the whole system and relationships rather than isolated parts. If the US healthcare system were to adopt a systems theory this could improve healthcare quality and reduce errors.

Despite focus on increasing patient safety in hospitals, medical errors continue to remain high (Petula 2005, p. 6). By adopting the concept of systems theory this could possibly help to reduce medical errors and improve quality of care. By ensuring that the medical teams work as a unit rather than individual members, errors can be reduced and quality improved.

By adopting system theory thinking, the healthcare team visualizes the entire healthcare system as a whole, not just as their portion. Systems theory thinking supports the importance of relationship building to improve quality outcomes and reduce errors. Processes throughout the system are adopted to recognize improving communication subsystems, creating and managing effective teams, supporting collaboration, embracing ongoing education and improving moral through involvement, just to name a few.

Petula cites several magnet hospitals who have applied systems theory to their decision making processes and quality improvement initiatives that have demonstrated quality outcomes, improved teamwork among departments and decreased key medical position vacancies in their institutions (Petula 2005, p. 6). Proving that adopting systems theory has the potential to show marked quality improvement, error reduction and promote health. Chuang also concluded that “there is clear value in developing a theoretical systems approach to achieving quality in health care” (Chuang 2009, p. 54).

Relationship between diffusion of innovation theory and healthcare in the US
Diffusion theory can be described as a new idea that is adopted by an institution and how that new idea is disseminated. The decision to accept, adopt and then use this idea is typically in four stages: dissemination, adoption, implementation and maintenance. Alyce Schultz believes that by using the diffusion of innovation theory, health care systems can “provide a framework for planned organizational change necessary to implement and sustain evidence based practice” (Schultz 2007, p 12).

The first stage dissemination is when administrators are given new ideas and decide to adopt them. During the second phase, adoption, the administrators start to form attitudes about the idea and decide to adopt the new idea. The third phase of implementation is when practitioners begin using the new idea or practice and the fourth phase is the time when practitioners and administrators reevaluate and determine if they want to continue or end the new practice. Currently many health care facilities decide on new ideas without including the staff and never use the stages of diffusion theory. This often results in the idea not being accepted and therefore not used. Systems Theory and current nursing practice

Currently in most US healthcare facilities system theory is not used. Many practitioners seeing the same patient do not share information or share ideas resulting in a system that has high errors and low quality of care. As mentioned above hospitals that have adopted systems theory have increased quality of care and reduced errors.

Diffusion of innovation theory and current nursing practice
Currently in most practice this theory is not used or only partially used, even though research has shown that diffusion of theory has provided many health care facilities the ability to successfully spread and adopt new ideas (Hubbard 2007, p 54). Administrators decide on a practice to adopt and it is mandated for the nursing staff. Administrators rarely meet with...
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