Review of targets and indicators for health and social care in Scotland

Independent national review into targets and indicators for health and social care.

The need for systems thinking in design

29. Ensuring that all individuals have an opportunity to achieve their full potential in life requires a common sense of purpose across the public sector. In working together to achieve that aim, the public sector becomes a complex system. In such systems, action taken in one part can have significant and unanticipated consequences in other parts of the system. "Systems thinking" describes the processes of developing an understanding of a system by examining the linkages and interactions between the elements that compose the entire system. To achieve a coherent strategy to deliver improvement we need to think through the probable impact of all the different activities that might occur across the various organisations participating in the system. An important conclusion of seeing health and social care as a complex system is the need to focus on indicators before setting targets.


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