Analyzing Katana Referral Hospital as a Complex Adaptive System: Agents, Interactions and Adaptation to a Changing Environment

Confl Health. 2015 Jun 8;9:17. doi: 10.1186/s13031-015-0046-5. eCollection 2015.

Abstract

This study deals with the adaptation of Katana referral hospital in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in a changing environment that is affected for more than a decade by intermittent armed conflicts. His objective is to generate theoretical proposals for addressing differently the analysis of hospitals governance in the aims to assess their performance and how to improve that performance. The methodology applied approach uses a case study using mixed methods ( qualitative and quantitative) for data collection. It uses (1) hospital data to measure the output of hospitals, (2) literature review to identify among others, events and interventions recorded in the history of hospital during the study period and (3) information from individual interviews to validate the interpretation of the results of the previous two sources of data and understand the responsiveness of management team referral hospital during times of change. The study brings four theoretical propositions: (1) Interaction between key agents is a positive force driving adaptation if the actors share a same vision, (2) The strength of the interaction between agents is largely based on the nature of institutional arrangements, which in turn are shaped by the actors themselves, (3) The owner and the management team play a decisive role in the implementation of effective institutional arrangements and establishment of positive interactions between agents, (4) The analysis of recipient population's perception of health services provided allow to better tailor and adapt the health services offer to the population's needs and expectations. Research shows that it isn't enough just to provide support (financial and technical), to manage a hospital for operate and adapt to a changing environment but must still animate, considering that it is a complex adaptive system and that this animation is nothing other than the induction of a positive interaction between agents.

Keywords: Armed conflict; Complex adaptive system; Democratic Republic of Congo; Health care; Performance; Referral Hospital; South Kivu.