Posts Tagged ‘complexity’

Declining Marginal Returns of Complexity

June 21, 2010

Just completed the book The Collapse of Complex Societies by Joseph Tainter, an archeologist. The focus of the book is on civilizations like the Roman Empire and the Mayas but it made me wonder about the complexity of health care and whether we are at the point of declining marginal returns.  It is apparent from the health care reform experience that competing stakeholders make any attempt at reform a complex and nearly impossible process. Clay Shirky wrote a blog post in April on The Collapse of Complex Business Models. Just like societies which become too complex to respond to major stressors.  While I am not predicting the collapse of health care in the US but one must wonder whether some of the complexity could be simplified by the experience of other countries, such as, single payer systems and an emphasis on primary care (medical home).  Would be interested in other opinions, especially from those who have read the book.

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