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​​Understanding the system of healthcare is as important as understanding the tasks one is required to perform at work. Understanding the nature of complexity in healthcare is essential if we are to incorporate processes that minimize adverse events. This module provides a basic understanding of complex organizations using a systems approach. It also describes the lessons from other industries and examines the characteristics of high reliability organizations. When we think in systems we are better able to understand why things break down and have a context for thinking about solutions.

This module will teach you about:

  • Why we blame;
  • Systems thinking;
  • The relationship between systems thinking, blame and accountability;
  • Why system approaches to safety are superior to traditional approaches to safety in healthcare; and
  • The definition of a safety program.

Learning Objectives include:

  • Understand systems thinking and system engineering approaches to safety,
  • Describe the elements of a healthcare delivery system, and
  • Explain how system elements interact to impact safety.

Want to learn more? Download the module.

This document was revised in September 2017.

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