This book represents a first effort at bringing together a variety of systems theories and techniques and exploring their practical applicability to the health care system. It should have board appeal both as an introductory reference work for health professionals unfamiliar with systems approaches and as a review of new techniques for those already working in this field.
The papers collected in this book, presented at the Symposium on Systems and Medical Care held at Harvard in 1968, were written by the editors and other specialists in the fields of psychology, psychiatry, sociology, public health, and business administration. Each one deals individually with specific systems issues and professional approaches.
Beginning with a general overview of systems concepts (general systems, systems analysis, and cybernetics) and recent literature relevant to health care, the book proceeds to discuss basic systems models of disease and medical care system; some specific interorganizational systems models; utility and application of systems analysis techniques and concepts in health; health systems planning; and processes and evaluation of change in systems. In a concluding essay, the editors summarize the various topics discussed and focus attention on some of the current problems and issues facing this emergent field.