The complexity of health care is presently being seen in all disciplines, levels and virtually all over the world. As opposed to the olden days when specialization was the practice rather than norm, medical practitioners have embraced the modern trend of combined efforts in handling health problems. In fact, multidisciplinary team participation has been the way forward in resolving health care problems. Complex Adaptive Systems describe an academic field that is loosely organized towards the study of complex systems.
The focus of complexity science is not on a single theory- it encompasses diverse theoretical perspectives in order to find solutions to fundamental issues in life. In the case of health care and the development of complex medical devices, the role of complexity science is undoubtedly imperative. At the inner core of complexity science is the consideration of interdisciplinary experience and research in order to develop highly specialized and multifunctional solutions to daily problems. Therefore, the use of Complex Adaptive Systems in the development of new medical devices provides an opportunity to apply diverse expertise in the medical practice.
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Complex adaptive system involves different agents who freely act in unpredictable ways (Axelrod 1997). Nevertheless, the actions of the agents are interconnected such that when one agent acts in some way, the contexts of the other agents are changed. The working of a complex adaptive system in the manufacture and development of medical devices can be liked to a human's immune system. The collection of experts in various medical specializations requires the interconnectedness of experience in order to come up with devices that resolve medical problems. Complex adaptive systems involve a high level of integration.
For instance, in the mechanical in the pursuit of better system of producing medical devices, the relevance of expertise coordination and development of strong research and development relationships is crucial. The functioning of a complex adaptive system in the development of medical devices can be attributed to diverse real life situations such as ant colonies, rain forests, flocks of birds, businesses as well as communities (Capra 2000). These examples are complex in that there are various parts which function together irrespective of their existing differences. Moreover, the parts are adaptive to each other in a dynamic manner in order to adapt to their environments which changes constantly. In fact, they strive to thrive and survive in such unpredictable circumstances.
The positive reputation of complex adaptive systems on the ability to internalize data and information, engage in positive learning as well as evolve to embrace modified behavior. In the medical profession, findings obtained from complexity science can be highly utilized in the process of developing new medical devices as well as designing better medical devices. Through the application of complexity science, most difficulties in the medical profession can be resolved. This is due to the fact that complexity science can be applied to produce natural, enjoyable, productive and immensely innovative medical devices. In rethinking the functioning of a system, consideration is put on the how diversified parts get interconnected with a sole purpose and focus; an attainment of a common goal.
The medical profession is composed on several specialists who have varying experience and expertise. Additionally, the professionals who participate in the production of medical devices possess varied knowledge and capabilities. As such, the combined efforts from the different experts can yield high level positive results in the medical devices production. The different expertise areas are interconnected together and bring about varied flows of information as well as patient specialization. Similarly, there is a possibility for the different parts of the complex adaptive system to be understood as independent entities even though they are interconnected together.
The intuition by the various experts involved in production and design of medical devices is dependent on the strength and number of specialists involved. The functioning of the complex adaptive system can be therefore classified as microsystem and macrosystem (Waldrop 1999). In the case of complexity science and its application in the production of medical devices, combined experiences and differing areas of expertise are utilized effectively to come up with better devices. The nature of a complex adaptive system is that of a macrosystem. This is due to the fact that diverse expertise and experience is combined together with the aim of coming up with better devices to solve various medical problems. Moreover, the existence of diverse competences among the experts involved in the development of the medical devices provides the possibility of combining widespread utility and application areas on the devices produced. Complex adaptive systems are made in such a way that they can respond to external stimuli in diverse and in particular, unpredictable ways (Hurst & Zimmerman 2004).
As such, it is possible that whenever an occurrence comes into play unexpectedly, creativity and surprising behavior actions may be undertaken. The combined emergent behavior may positively influence the nature and type of medical devices produced. A complex adaptive system comprises of different individuals with enough freedom to behave in often unpredictable ways but their actions interconnected. In the scientific field of new product development in medicine, the actions and behavior of the specific individuals involved in process directly affects those of the other agents (Hansen 2000). Developing a framework for new product development and design in medicine through the application of complex adaptive systems is dependent upon various essential factors.
To start with, it is imperative to understand the adaptable elements. Thus the people to be involved need to identified. Secondly, it is essential to have simple rules that are to act as guidelines to the agents involved. Such rules can be a source of complex results. Thirdly, it is important for the agents involved in the complex adaptive system to consider the effects on nonlinearity. This is particularly due to the fact that if small changes are imposed during the process of new product development, it could result to large impacts. Fourthly, the complex adaptive system has to put novelty and emergent behavior into consideration. As a matter of fact, the agents involved in the complex adaptive system are continuously creative; coming up with new developments as the process progresses.
The fifth factor to put into consideration in a complex adaptive system is the unpredictability of outcomes (Morgan 1997). As the agents performing various actions in the system are continuously creative, their future actions are highly unpredictable. Therefore, it is not possible to make detailed predictions about an outcome in a complex adaptive system. In the case of a complex adaptive system, the focusing of actions is bounded in the realization that true statements can be made concerning a specific behavior. However, conclusive details cannot be provided.
Consequently, ease to change, nonlinearity, emergent and creative behavior of complex adaptive systems leaves observation as the best way to tell about the results. The sixth aspect in complex adaptive systems is inherent order. This is based on the fact that orderliness may be present even in absence of a central control. Further, a fruitful complex adaptive system needs to fit on the context and be well embedded in it. Finally, there is need to consider co-evolution in a complex adaptive system as it moves through various balances and tensions. Thus a success complex adaptive system in new product development and design of medical devices has to consider all the above essential factors.
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