4 Stages of a System Approach to Drive Value in Healthcare

A systems approach to healthcare delivery — one that understands how elements of care operate individually and in connection with each other — can improve the value of healthcare, according to a report by participants in the Institute of Medicine Roundtable on Value & Science-Driven Health Care.

The authors of the report, "Bringing a Systems Approach to Health," are also participants in the IOM/National Academy of Engineering Systems Approaches to Improving Health Innovation Collaborative. They define a systems approach to health as "one that applies scientific insights to understand the elements that influence health outcomes; models the relationships between those elements; and alters design, processes or policies based on the resultant knowledge in order to produce better health at lower cost."

Here are the four general stages of this approach, quoted from the report:

1. Identification. Identify the multiple elements involved in caring for patients and promoting the health of individuals and populations.

2. Description. Describe how those elements operate independently and interdependently.

3. Alteration. Change the design of organizations, processes or policies to enhance the results of the interplay and engage in a continuous improvement process that promotes learning at all levels.

4. Implementation. Operationalize the integration of the new dynamics to facilitate the ways people, processes, facilities, equipment and organizations all work together to achieve better care at lower cost.

More Articles on a Systems Approach to Healthcare:

7 Guiding Themes to Advance Safety of Medical Device Interoperability
Why Hospital Quality Improvement Should Depend on Systems More Than People

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