Enhancing Health Care Quality with Complexity Science

Using complexity science concepts to enhance health care quality

Complexity science is the discipline of how living systems self-organize, evolve and adapt. From 2004 to 2006, the Plexus Institute supported two networks of scholars and clinicians—devoted to nursing and clinical practice—to raise awareness about complexity science and develop strategies for using it to address key challenges in health care.

Key Results: The project resulted in a book, four articles and nine reports:

  • A book, On the Edge: Nursing in the Age of Complexity, about the implications of complexity science for clinical practice, leadership, nursing theory development, research, policy-making and understanding human physiology
  • Four articles posted on the Plexus website:
    • "The Practice of Medicine is in the Interactions: A Day with Robert A. Lindberg, M.D.," by Arvind Singhal.
    • "Trust is the Lubricant of Organizational Life: Lessons from the Life and Career of Henri Lipmanowicz," by Arvind Singhal.
    • "When the Task is Accomplished, Can We Say We Did it Ourselves?: A Quest to Eliminate MRSA at the Veterans Health Administration's Hospitals in Pittsburgh," by Arvind Singhal and Karen Greiner.
    • "Which Nursing Home Would You Put Your Mother In?" A Conversation with Complexity Scholars Reuben McDaniel, Jr. and Ruth Anderson, by Arvind Singhal.
  • Nine reports, including:
    • Microbial Mutations Test Human lngenuity.
    • Complexity and Change on the Indian Reservation.
    • Tiny Conspirators Talk to Each Other In Microscopic Bacterial Communities.
    • A New Wrinkle in Fighting Bad Bugs: Don't Let Your Fashion Be Infectious.
    • A Paradox: Communication is the Issue and the Answer.