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4.2 Going beyond silos in medicine and health systems:

the time for Systems thinking and Cybernetics

   This session wants to offer a platform for the improvement of health services highlighting what systems thinking and cybernetics can offer...

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   This session wants to offer a platform for the improvement of health services highlighting what systems thinking and cybernetics can offer to go beyond silos in medicine and health systems.

   Medical services are subject to increasing costs and are often unaffordable to the most, but also offer huge opportunities to the development of mankind. Service performance needs enhancement and increased improvement. Health services, however, are often fragmented and constrained by a disciplinary divide. Scientific knowledge seems to still fail in contributing to solve complex people’s problems. The reductionism prevailing in modern biology and medicine has reached the ‘evolutionary bottom’, finally decomposing biosystems into the most elementary parts – atoms and molecules. Further development of biomedicine with the contribution of nano- bio, information, cognitive - and Social (NBICS) technologies in the context of the latest industrial revolution (industry 4.0) is possible on the way of evolutionary rise in the levels of organization of biosystems and the return of wholeness in biomedical approaches and theories, i.e. in the framework of system biology and medicine.

To grasp the complexity of these issues, transdisciplinary approaches must be developed taking into account the diversity of scientific and societal views of the problems, linking abstract and case specific knowledge, and focusing on problem-solving for what is perceived to be the common good (Hadorn et al., 2008).

   While scientists are still trying to address these methodological problems, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the consequences of some ‘illnesses’ of many healthcare systems and calls for urgent holistic cures. It’s time for systems thinkers and cyberneticians to answer this call.

   By leveraging the power of systems and cybernetic thinking in identifying and framing the invariances underpinning life-related problems and disciplines, new areas of knowledge can be created that build upon a common and unitary view of life and lead to promote prevention as the best cure for effective, efficient, and sustainable health systems.

Discussion points

  • Systems and cybernetic thinking for transdisciplinarity in medicine and healthcare

  • Systems medicine and network medicine

  • The complexity of networking quantitative and subjective dimensions in medicine

  • Challenges of Artificial Intelligence in the clinical medicine

  • Complex modelling in biomedicine

  • Big data, medicine and social networks ?

  • Implementation of systems science and cybernetics in clinical practice, hospital and community healthcare management, global health, or policy

  • The human consciousness dimension in healthcare service

  • T-shaped professionals in healthcare organizations

  • Systems and cybernetic views of organizational solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic


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