Basic concepts of Community Health Network
The top businesses of this century embrace their complexity and use self-organizing, adaptive network models to create economies of scale in supply and demand. They can creatively solve problems, develop a deeper understanding of customer needs, and create a nimble system to meet the diverse needs of everyone in the network. While traditional industrial models depend on structure and scale to centralize control, these successful new networks instead distribute control to respond to customer need, enabling them to thrive in a dynamic world.
Imagine how impactful a lightweight, smart network would change healthcare – making it agile enough to truly respond to the needs of patients while reducing costs and increasing practitioners’ satisfaction.
Four central concepts
Healthcare is a community. Like any human system, healthcare is dynamic. Every element involved – patients, providers, insurers, other organizations, families, government, and so on – is connected to and impacted by each of the other elements. Each part has mass, direction and momentum that may disproportionately affect the balance and actions of the whole. Evidence about one element obtained in isolation may change when integrated into a complex community. This has profound implications for how we conduct science and implement findings.
The goal for each member is the achievement of a community-defined desired outcome. For any number of situations and conditions, the desired outcome may reference a national target, but it must be defined in the light of each community’s reality. The adaptive network uses goals to self-organize around each member. That organization works to make better and more member-specific options and information available to all points of care.
The goal of the network is productivity. Efficiency is secondary. The first emphasizes growth and variety and the other conformity with standards to a specific type and degree of variation. The first is necessary because that is the nature of the environment in which healthcare works. Every person and every community are unique. Practitioners at the point of care are the only ones who can know the patient. Knowledge of the patient is scant and unreliable when it is second or third hand --- and, that is important because healthcare is a knowledge business.
The goal is a healthcare system where each part has the right scale. While healthcare is a Complex Adaptive System, it has many complicated components within it that are complicated and where an industrial model right. For those situations, scale is important and valuable. Examples include many in-patient services and insurance. Both have infrastructure needs that need and benefit from large scale investment and structure. Most of healthcare will work better with a low or near scale-free business architecture. The network allows all to co-exist with the structure that works best for them.
These goals are the underlying concepts that, along with an enabling technology, will change how we understand healthcare, what has value, and how we reimburse those who create it. It opens the door to new business models and new markets that value health.