Systems and complexity thinking in general practice: part 1 - clinical application

Aust Fam Physician. 2007 Mar;36(3):170-3.


Many problems encountered in general practice cannot be sufficiently explained within the Newtonian reductionist paradigm. Systems and complexity thinking - already widely adopted in most nonmedical disciplines - describes and explores the contextual nature of questions posed in medicine, and in general practice in particular. This article briefly describes the framework underpinning systems and complexity sciences. A case study illustrates how systems and complexity thinking can help to better understand the contextual nature of patient presentations, and how different approaches will lead to different outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care*
  • Family Practice / trends*
  • Forecasting
  • Holistic Health
  • Humans
  • Models, Organizational
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Problem Solving
  • Systems Theory*
  • Thinking*