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Using Complexity Science in eHealth

How Complexity Can Help in the Development and Management of eHealth Applications

Introducing ehealth into our health system is a world‐class challenge. Right now we are investing heavily in ehealth. This increases the risk that we are pursuing a rate of change that our health system cannot safely attain, especially given a limited complement of competent informatics human resources, the possible underestimation of needed effort and investment, and our understanding of the complexity of the health system. This could set the stage for failure. One challenge for informatics solutions is that healthcare delivery systems are complex adaptive systems. To appreciate the implications of this, we will explore the nature of complexity and what it implies for developing, introducing and managing informatics interventions. In particular, we will question the current assumption that health care is a linear, non‐interacting, predictable system and we will explore how complexity impacts our interventions. Then we will provide aides that will better equip us to deal with the challenges we face.

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