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Applying complex adaptive system thinking to Australian health care: expert commentary

Report for an Australian Commonwealth Government agency
Health services planning Systems thinking Evidence-based policy Australia

This expert commentary has been commissioned by the Australian Commonwealth government agency (ACGA) and the Sax Institute to contribute to a series of consultation and discussion papers on its future vision for the Australian Healthcare system. The Report is structured to respond to specific questions posed by the Commission in the commissioning brief. In the report, each question is addressed from the perspective of two broad approaches found in the literature; 1) ‘systems thinking approaches’ in applied analyses of healthcare, and 2) ‘complex adaptive systems theory’ as a global theory to understand health care.

We use the term systems thinking approaches to refer to a broad set of perspectives, methods and approaches developed in diverse areas of science, organisational management and engineering which are increasingly being applied in health policy and planning. Health interventions are one of the priority areas for systems thinking analysis. Systems thinking can inform health policy and program assessment and planning.

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