Bertalanffy's Systems Theory vs. Everett Rogers' Diffusion of Innovation Theory

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Systems theory versus diffusion of innovation theory Discuss the relationship between Bertalanffy's systems theory and healthcare delivery in the U.S. Ludwig von Bertalanffy's systems theory was not created as a healthcare-specific theory, although Bertalanffy's concepts have been extremely influential in the medical field. Simply put, his theory is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Von Bertalanffy was not a biologist but he believed that the biological principles of cellular organization could be applied to other systems. "A system is a complex of interacting elements. Von Bertalanffy also noted that they are open to, and interact with their environments. In addition, they can acquire qualitatively new properties through emergence, thus they are in a continual evolution. System thinking is both part-to-whole and whole-to-part thinking about making connections between the various elements so that they fit together in a whole" (Clark 2011). Systems theory is founded upon the "inescapable irreducibility of the interdependence that comes into play as a result of those interactions" (An outline of general system theory, 2008, Emergence: Complexity and Organization). For example, within the healthcare system, it is not enough for merely one aspect of the system to be functional. The system may have high-quality treatments, but if patients do not have access to care (because they live in rural areas, or lack insurance), the system is still dysfunctional.

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