Healthcare delivery is at last beginning to adopt mathematical and engineering principles [link]. There is an awareness, especially in the USA, that the leadership of an inherently chaotic system requires a professional mathematical sensibility, infinitely more sophisticated than the tired mix of power-point, polished-comportment, faux-bonhomie, affected-positivity and sloganeering.
Complex systems are made up of many components. A decision which impacts upon one component in a healthcare system may affect other components, and indeed the whole system, in a way which was not predicted at the outset. Quite often a decision aimed at conservation can actually end up leaking resource as unforeseen consequences on the whole system emerge.
Mathematical modelling of complex systems, such as a healthcare trust, can provide insight into how the change in one component affects other parts of the system. With a deeper analysis of the system, decisions can be taken with less uncertainty over downstream consequences.
Healthcare delivery services and their administrative and managerial supports are recognised as complex adaptive systems. Adaption signifies that the system learns from feedback and moves, overtime, ever closer towards an optimal configuration. Systems differ in their adaptiveness, however. Some evolve, almost effortlessly, towards an optimal configuration, but others appear to move chaotically from one state to another. The perception is that healthcare delivery in the UK typifies the latter.
Mathematical modelling is the ideal method for guiding healthcare delivery systems towards an optimal configuration. It is suggested that the optimal configuration of a healthcare system is aligned with the principle of utilitarianism;