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Systems Theory and Diffusion of Innovation

March 25, 2016

Systems Theory and Diffusion of Innovation

Introduction

Nursing practice has made substantial developments as a distinctive discipline that is critical to the future of the US healthcare delivery. These developments are because of concepts and theories that are relevant in the advancement of nursing practice and diffusion. Some of the theoretical models applicable in nursing include the systems theory and the diffusion of innovation theory (Sanson-Fisher, 2004). The diffusion of innovation theory attempts to elucidate why, how and the rate at which new innovations, mainly technology and ideas, spread through diverse cultures. The original theorist of diffusion of innovations, Everett Rogers, defined diffusion as the “process through which an innovation is communicated via particular channels among the members of a social system over time” (Sanson-Fisher, 2004). On the other hand, the systems theory, first proposed by Ludwig von Bertalanfy, defined a system as “a set of material, technological, biological or social partners working together with a common objective.” The systems theory perceived systems as abstract organizations that are not dependent on space, time, type or substance (Walker & Whetton, 2002). The goal of this paper is to relate systems theory and diffusion of innovations to healthcare delivery and nursing practice.

Relationship between Systems Theory and Healthcare Delivery in the US

The systems theory provides a framework for improving the quality of healthcare delivery in the US because its supports the use of systems thinking, which allows healthcare practitioners to perceive the healthcare system as a whole system with relationships between components rather than the isolated components. It is apparent that high quality healthcare delivery is highly likely if the relationships and interrelationships are deemed significant. In such a scenario, weight is placed on factors such as education, process management, skill competencies, behavioral competencies, conflict management, team building and effective communication; this is because these factors tend to strengthen relationships (Leeman, Jackson, & Sandelowski, 2006). The fundamental argument is that the systems theory is an effective tool for improving the quality of healthcare in the United States. The vital components that constitute quality healthcare delivery include staff competency, well-constructed procedures and policies for guiding practice, safety in healthcare environments, evidence-based practice, patient involvement in planning via effective communication, and mission-drive behaviors among practitioners. The systems theory can help in improving the quality of healthcare delivery through enhancing communication between subsystems found in the larger system; creating and managing effective teams; promoting interdisciplinary and collaborative practices; acknowledging the significance of conflict management education; placing emphasis on processes instead of staff; reducing power differentials among various subsystems and groups; embracing continuing education; and promoting behavioral and skill competency (Mitchell, Courtney, & Coyer, 2003). Overall, applying the systems theory in healthcare delivery helps in moving individuals and organizations away from the punitive model typified by faulting individuals towards a process model typified by faulting processes. Examples of systems theory application in healthcare delivery is the use of Information Technology in core clinical systems such as electronic documentation, administration of medication, physiological monitoring, and patient order entry.

Relationship between Diffusion of Innovation Theory and the Change Process within Healthcare Delivery in the U.S

The diffusion of innovation theory can be used in initiating change in the US healthcare delivery system. According to Sanson-Fisher (2004), 100 percent adoption of innovation is a prerequisite for embedded and effective change. Everett Rogers outlined five different elements needed for effective change including observability, trialability, complexity, compatibility, and relative advantage. As a result, it is evident that the diffusion of innovation theory provides guidelines for leading and implementing effective change within the US healthcare delivery (Leeman et al, 2006).

Walker & Whetton (2002) assert that the diffusion of innovation theory can be used in advancing technology in the delivery of healthcare. Empirical evidence affirms the advantages of technology in improving healthcare costs and access. However, the conventional and conservative approaches to healthcare delivery are still an impediment towards change in healthcare delivery. Consequently innovation in healthcare has always been disregarded resulting in the avoidance of opportunities aimed at improving the patient outcomes (Wang et al, 2005). The power of the diffusion of innovation theory as a change process has facilitated innovation regardless of resistance.

Relationship between Systems Theory and Current Nursing Practice

The systems theory offers several benefits to nursing practice, wherein the notion of openness and wholeness are somewhat consistent with the principles used in Nursing (Mitchell et al, 2003). Practicing nurses make use of the aspect of openness and wholeness during problem solving; for instance, the systems theory can be used to evaluate how family anxiety affects patient recovery. In this example, it is apparent that the level of uncertainty on patient clinical outcomes and family anxiety in the Intensive Care Unit are some of the core factors affecting patient recovery. Consequently, the system theory pointed out the family as a core factor influencing patient recovery.

The relationship between systems theory and nursing practice can be illustrated using the impact of Evidence Best Practices (EBP) on patient outcomes. In the light of this view, there is a relationship between systems theory and EBP. In addition, the systems theory helps in enhancing decision-making and critical thinking; this is because the systems theory facilitated higher thinking that balances and considers the complexity of the problem at hand.

Relationship between Diffusion of Innovation Theory and Current Nursing Practice

The diffusion of innovation is equally significant in the current nursing practice since it provides a logical course of action for initiating change. In contrast with the system theory, the diffusion of innovation theory provides a concept map for achieving change. Whereas the system theory provides boundaries used for critical analysis, the diffusion of innovation theory provides a directive to entrench change, which is new behavior; as a result, the diffusion of innovation theory helps in meeting the objectives of change. Nurses act as the change agents, and can use the diffusion of innovation theory to innovate health systems used in the United States.

Often, nurses forecast and map innovations that fail or the actual outcomes are less than the expected outcomes. The systems theory and diffusion of innovation theory provide frameworks for enhancing nursing education and practice. It is evident that the adoption of these theories will result in effective change management and nursing leadership in order to improve the quality of healthcare.

Summary of the Search Strategies Used To Acquire Information on the Specified Theories

The literature search used in this research paper involved an internet search on Google Scholar and the CINAHL online database. Key search words included: systems theory in healthcare delivery; systems theory in nursing practice; diffusion of innovation theory in healthcare delivery; and diffusion of innovation theory in current nursing practice. It was relatively easy to find articles related to the specified theories and their applicability in healthcare and nursing practice.

Annotated Bibliography

Leeman, J., Jackson, B., & Sandelowski, M. (2006). An evaluation of how well research reports facilitate the use of findings in practice. Journal of Clinical Scholarship , 38 (2), 171-177. This article uses the diffusion of innovation theory to analyze the manner in which new clinical innovations are implemented and affirm the timeliness of adoption when research results have indicated adequate evidence of the necessity for innovation.

Mitchell, M. L., Courtney, M., & Coyer, F. (2003). Understanding uncertainty and minimizingfamilies anxiety at the time of transfer from intensive care. Nursing and Health Sciences , 207-217. This source deployes the general systems theory to evaliate data that points out the effect of family coping conditions on patient recovery outcomes.

Sanson-Fisher, R. W. (2004). Diffusion of innovation theory for clinical change. Retrieved September 24, 2012, from Medical Journal of Australia: http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/180_06_150304/san10748_fm.pdf. This source provides an outline of the five main components of the diffusion of innovation theory in order to elucidate on the the application of the theory in Evidence Based Practice.

Walker, J., & Whetton, S. (2002). The diffusion of innovation: factors influencing the uptake of telehealth. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare (3), 73-75. This article outlined the advantages associated with telehealth in the delivery of quality healthcare in the US and deploys the diffusion theory with the goal of promoting its utilization.

References List

Leeman, J., Jackson, B., & Sandelowski, M. (2006). An evaluation of how well research reports facilitate the use of findings in practice. Journal of Clinical Scholarship , 38 (2), 171-177.

Mitchell, M. L., Courtney, M., & Coyer, F. (2003). Understanding uncertainty and minimizingfamilies anxiety at the time of transfer from intensive care. Nursing and Health Sciences , 207-217.

Sanson-Fisher, R. W. (2004). Diffusion of innovation theory for clinical change. Retrieved September 24, 2012, from Medical Journal of Australia: http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/180_06_150304/san10748_fm.pdf

Walker, J., & Whetton, S. (2002). The diffusion of innovation: factors influencing the uptake of telehealth. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare (3), 73-75.


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