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).
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