Complex systems

Complex systems

Complex Systems

The Complex Systems Research Stream is part of the Centre for Healthcare Resilience and Implementation Science at the Australian Institute of Health Innovation.

Healthcare is increasingly recognised as a complex adaptive system, comprised of multiple levels of interacting agents, including diverse organisations (e.g., hospitals, not-for-profits, governments, professional bodies), groups (e.g., medical teams, online patient communities) and individuals (e.g., doctor, nurse, patient, carer, pharmacist). All of this interconnection leads to nonlinearity, making understanding, influencing and improving the healthcare system a challenge of the greatest magnitude. For example, complexity science highlights the importance of local context, such that an intervention that works in one hospital might show little improvement or might not even be adopted in another. Furthermore, feedback loops within complex systems mean that changes may not be sustained, as their effects become self-correcting (negative feedback); alternatively, a small perturbation in one part of system, for example a doctor failing to wash their hands, may have repercussion across the entire network, such as causing frustration among their team, patient infection, culminating in a national scandal.

While such complexity belies easy prediction, our research focuses on ways to understand this complex system, with the goal of improving healthcare. We look at the links and disconnects of agents in a complex system through social network analysis which can highlight common phenomena such as silos. We also find ways to make sense of this complexity through qualitative methods, such as observation, ethnography, and quantitative analysis, in particular utilising “Big Data”. In addition, we are interested in understanding and making use of feedback for the purposes of healthcare improvement.

Director

  

Professor Jeffrey Braithwaite
Professor and Director
E: jeffrey.braithwaite@mq.edu.au

  

Leads

  

Janet Long
Senior Research Fellow
E: janet.long@mq.edu.au

  • Keeping People out of Hospital (MRFF)
  • Social networks in healthcare
  • Genomic medicine implementation

Louise Ellis
Research Fellow
E: louise.ellis@mq.edu.au

  • Learning health systems
  • Mental health services and systems
  • Implementation science

Kate Churruca
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
E:  kate.churruca@mq.edu.au

  • Organisational culture and its influence on care
  • Safety culture
  • Change in complex systems

Team

  

Chiara Pomare
Research Assistant
E: chiara.pomare@mq.edu.au

Kristiana Ludlow
Research Assistant
E: kristiana.ludlow@mq.edu.au
Zeyad Mahmoud
Research Fellow
E: zeyad.mahmoud@mq.edu.au

Tahlia Theodorou
Research Assistant
E: tahlia.theodorou@mq.edu.au

Sarah Hatem
Research Assistant
E: sarah.hatem@mq.edu.au
Hossai Gul
Research Assistant
E: hossai.gul@mq.edu.au

Rebecca Lake
Research Assistant
E: rebecca.lake@mq.edu.au

 

Content owner: Australian Institute of Health Innovation Last updated: 12 May 2020 11:21am

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