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Qual Saf Health Care. 2006 Dec;15 Suppl 1:i10-6.

Understanding the complexity of redesigning care around the clinical microsystem.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesia, University of Miami, Miami, FL 33136, USA.


The microsystem is an organizing design construct in which social systems cut across traditional discipline boundaries. Because of its interdisciplinary focus, the clinical microsystem provides a conceptual and practical framework for simplifying complex organizations that deliver care. It also provides an important opportunity for organizational learning. Process mapping and microworld simulation may be especially useful for redesigning care around the microsystem concept. Process mapping, in which the core processes of the microsystem are delineated and assessed from the perspective of how the individual interacts with the system, is an important element of the continuous learning cycle of the microsystem and the healthcare organization. Microworld simulations are interactive computer based models that can be used as an experimental platform to test basic questions about decision making misperceptions, cause-effect inferences, and learning within the clinical microsystem. Together these tools offer the user and organization the ability to understand the complexity of healthcare systems and to facilitate the redesign of optimal outcomes.

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