Brigitte DANIEL ALLEGRO, Gary Robert Smith


By thinking about systems thinking, our aim was to provide other system thinkers with a mind map for the key elements of the thinking that took place.

The sepsis problem is highly complex and spans not just the biological system, but also the healthcare enterprise. Sepsis is the context in which systems thinking has been applied and examined.

Sepsis is an emergency situation that if left unrecognised and untreated in its early stage leads to multiple organ dysfunction and death. It is also the most expensive condition treated in U.S. hospitals. Stays with septicaemia (sepsis) have the highest aggregate hospital costs in comparison to all other conditions (US 2011 $20.3 billion) and these costs have more than quadrupled since 1997.

A systems thinking mind map was examined while relating the story of a systems thinker, Paul, who attempted to deal with the sepsis problem. Paul wanted to better understand sepsis in order to recognise potential leverage points for prevention, treatment and recovery.

This case study highlights the attitudes; comments on the system approach, and puts forward the cognitive concepts.

All these concepts are integrated in an overall mind map looking like a tree: the branches of the tree represent the systems thinker's attitudes; the roots of the tree represent features of systems that are commonly considered when systems’ thinking.

By examining the systems thinking applied in an unfamiliar domain this has facilitated new perspectives on systems thinking and systems science.


systems thinking, attitudes, concepts

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