Complexity science: core concepts and applications for medical practice.

Ashok M. Patel, Thoralf M. Sundt, Prathibha Varkey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Complexity science is a useful construct for physicians trying to cope with the escalating sophistication of health care and pressure to control costs. The science of complexity suggests that outcomes are not always linear or predictable. Physicians need to learn to expect unpredictability, respect autonomy and creativity, and be flexible in responding to emerging patterns and opportunities. Assessing and managing complexity in the health care environment involves understanding why medical practice is a complex adaptive system and how to work within such a system to achieve the best outcomes. The goal of this article is to help physicians understand the basic concepts of complexity science and how they might be applied to medical practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-42
Number of pages3
JournalMinnesota medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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