Describe a Department or Unit within a Health Care Organization Using Systems Theory Terminology
Describe a department or unit within a health care organization using systems theory terminology. Include a description of inputs, throughput, output, cycles of events, and negative feedback.
Describe the problem you identified within the department or unit using an open- systems approach, and state where the problem exists using the systems theory model (input, throughput, output, cycles of events, or negative feedback).
Based on this information, explain how you would address the problem as follows:
Formulate a desired outcome.
Identify goals and objectives that would facilitate that outcome.
Translate those goals and objectives into policies and procedures for the department or unit.
Describe relevant professional standards.
Explain how your proposed resolution to the problem would uphold the organization’s mission and values and improve the culture and climate.
The world we live in is a complex system composed of subsystems that interact among each other with each having clearly defined boundaries and coherent dynamics. Systems theory was developed by biologist Ludwig von Bertalanffy in the 1930s to simplify world complexity to human mind and make it more understandable (von Bertalanffy, 1962). The development of the theory came as a result of the author’s perceived need for a theory to guide research in multiple fields.
His theory helped to provide a common framework that created shared and common language that scientists from different disciplines can use to communicate their findings. Simply put, systems theory is used to understand how things around us work. Systems theory looks at the world as a system composed of smaller subsystems. Systems as a representation of life phenomena are used by humanity in every day life to describe the functioning of these phenomena. For example, a hospital is a system with inputs, processes and outputs. The hospital itself is a component of a larger system, health care system. The health care system, banking system, educational system, judicial system and other systems comprise the socio-economic-political system within which we live. Significance of Systems Theory to Health Care Management Systems theory can be used to clearly and concisely understand health care structures, processes and outcomes processes and their interactions within a health care system. Systems theory can be used as a framework to describe the components of systems and the relationships between these components, the boundaries of the system, the goals of the system, and system’s ability to change and adapt in response to internal and external forces. Systems theory and thinking can help us understand how health care organizations and systems behave and it allows us to clearly assess, visualize, analyze and understand the structure, processes, and feedback loops that make up the organization. This correct and clear understanding of the organization as a system is a necessity to be able to manage organizations effectively and efficiently and to achieve organization’s goals. System Definition A system is a collection of independent but interrelated elements or components organized in a meaningful way to accomplish an overall goal. The function of any system is to convert or process materials, energy, and/or information (inputs) into a product or outcome for use within the system, or outside of the system (the environment) or both.
Human social groups (organizations) exist and interact to produce, consume and exchange goods and services. It is helpful for understanding to think of organizations as systems. A system is an organized collection of independent but interrelated elements or components to accomplish an overall goal. Simply put, an organization as a system has various inputs that are processed to produce outputs. A continuous feedback between the different components of the system ensures that the system is accomplishing the goals of the organization (system). A system can be the entire organization, or any of its departments, groups, or processes. Organizations (systems) have inputs, processes and outputs. Inputs include resources such as human resources, equipment, computers, raw materials, money, technologies and information. Inputs are processed to produce the outputs of the organization. Outputs are the results of the processes of the organization.
Systems & Systems Theory – 4 – services. Examples of goods are food, clothes, equipment and cars. Organizations produce services such as transportation services, education, and health care. Health care industry produces services such as providing health care, protecting against communicable diseases, and providing food services in hospitals. Feedback comes from multiple sources; from the managers, workers who perform processes, customers who use system services, newspapers and political leaders.
Hospital as a System
Systems theory concepts and principles can been applied to understand and explain hospitals and their operation. A hospital is defined as “any medical facility with an organized medical and professional staff and beds available for continuous hospitalization of patients formally admitted to it for medical observation, care, diagnosis, or surgical and non-surgical treatment” (Pan American Health Organization, 2004). Another definition is that a hospital is “an institution which provides beds, meals, and constant nursing care for its patients while they undergo medical therapy at the hands of professional physicians. In carrying out these services, the hospital is striving to restore its patients to health” (Miller 1997). Hospitals are open systems that interact with the environment to complete necessary trades for survival of the system, growth, and fulfillment of systems’ goal. A hospital is a subsystem that exists within a hierarchy of other systems. King Abdullah University Hospital is a subsystem of the Jordanian health care system. Additionally, Hospitals are complex systems, since they contain large number of subsystems such as the radiology department, nursing services, housekeeping, food services, laundry, laboratory department and so. Each of these subsystems can be looked at as a system of its own.