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Complexity science in COVID-19 crisis

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James W. Begun, PhD, and H. Joanna Jiang, PhD, both of the University of Minnesota, tout complexity science in presenting six cases that show how health-care leaders and clinicians can respond well to the COVID-19 pandemic with extensive communication, collaboration and innovation.

The authors conclude:

“Complexity science, with its emphasis on simple rules, open discussions, and building connections, provides an orienting framework for response to major surprise. The perspective provides an evidence-based foundation for management during disasters. During the Covid-19 crisis, health-care organizations that have emphasized communication, connection and innovation have effectively addressed the challenges to adjust capacity, redesign care models, redeploy staff and overcome financial loss.

“Complexity science also provides a framework for learning from disasters. Any future disasters will require health-care organizations to face challenges that will be different in detail, even while similar in pattern. Health-care organizations, particularly those that have entered the recovery and rebuild stage, can use the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to transform into more agile and resilient learning systems.”

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