Rationale for an International Conference on System Science in Health Care
The founders of the series of conferences entitled System Science in Health Care would have provided a more obvious rationale for their programs had they used the term “system sciences”--plural rather than singular. They could easily have claimed that the major professions and disciplines respresented--medicine, nursing, epidemiology, economics, behavioral science, biology, operation research are all system sciences, dealing with living systems at some level. We would have had a nice umbrella term that could embrace all the sciences, each in its own way looking at interrelationships, linkages, and processes whether speaking of cells, or human bodies, or organizations and societies. That is in fact what we have had at these conferences, a meeting ground for a variety of specialists, for the most part, drawn together by an awareness that the world’s tough health problems have not been solved by medicine or organizational management or politics alone, but have--dramatically in some situations--yielded to a total system approach in which the clinical, institutional, and societal aspects are considered simultaneously. Attacks on the infectious diseases, such as smallpox, and on cardiovascular disease mortality are examples. Perhaps it is the hope that in time, with expanding biomedical knowledge, increasing capabilities in informatics and management, that real inroads can be made on other problems that threaten health and limit the quality of life.
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