Complexity theory in the management of communicable diseases

J Hosp Infect. 2003 Jun;54(2):87-92. doi: 10.1016/s0195-6701(03)00081-1.


In nature, apparently complex behavioural patterns are the result of repetitive simple rules. Complexity science studies the application of these rules and looks for applications in society. Complexity management opportunities have developed from this science and are providing a revolutionary approach in the constantly changing workplace. This article discusses how complexity management techniques have already been applied to communicable disease management in Wales and suggests further developments. A similar approach is recommended to others in the field, while complexity management probably has wider applications in the NHS, not least in relation to the developing managed clinical networks.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Communicable Disease Control / methods*
  • Communicable Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Disease Management
  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control
  • Disease Outbreaks / statistics & numerical data
  • Drug Resistance
  • Humans
  • Information Systems / organization & administration
  • Models, Organizational
  • National Health Programs / organization & administration
  • Nonlinear Dynamics*
  • Operations Research
  • Organizational Innovation
  • Philosophy, Medical
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Public Health Practice*
  • Systems Theory
  • Wales / epidemiology