The Impact of Systems Theory and Diffusion of Innovation Theory on Healthcare

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Systems theory versus diffusion of innovation theory: How both have impacted the field of healthcare The foundational concept of systems theory is as old as Aristotle's statement that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. But when the biologist Ludwig Von Bertalanffy created the concept of general systems theory (GST), he was reacting against a powerful contemporary emphasis within his field which stressed reductionism rather than a holistic perspective. "He fathered an organismic approach to biology as a reaction to the vitalism-reductionism arguments that were rampant in his day," which focused upon components of organisms instead and the notion that living systems were innately different than non-living systems (Provost 2011). Von Bertalanffy instead stressed that all systems shared similar properties, regardless of their nature. First and foremost, the components of every system from a cell to a human being, to a society of human beings must be understood in consort, not in isolation This signified "a unity of the observed universe and hence of science" (Provost 2011). Systems are open, dynamic, and capable of change because they are in constant dialogue with the rest of the environment. "An open system that imports free energy or negative entropy from the outside can legitimately proceed toward states of increasing heterogeneity and order," whether human and 'living' and/or nonhuman and conceptual and social (such as a business) (Provost 2011). This
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