SIG Complexity in Health and Healthcare annual report

Dr Carmel M Martin, convenor, SIG on Complexity in Health and Healthcare reports

Complexity sciences is increasingly recognized to provide the mental framework as the research methodologies to deal with the “messy problems” facing health care and general and general practice/family medicine/primary care in particular.

Recent activities

The WONCA world conference, Seoul
There was considerable interest in the Special Interest Group, notably in the areas of whole person-care, social determinants of health, networks and big data, integrated care and unstable health journeys and potentially avoidable hospitalizations. Members from the following countries presented on these topics: Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Denmark, Australia, Netherlands, North America, Ukraine.

Plans for the WONCA SIG Complexity in Health and Healthcare

The main objectives of GP/FM objective are to improve the experience of illness and the experience of care through supporting the human capacity to heal, and the human capacity to care and support others. WONCA SIG is committed to a generalist approach to clinical care and primary health care. Our WONCA SIG is involved in developing the role of the GP (primary care physician) in concert with the developing roles of community health workers, care managers, primary care nurses and care guides.

The WONCA SIG’s vision is to continue to centre care on dynamic systems that represent changes in health experiences including pain into health systems design and evaluation. We are highly supportive of others who have the courage to work with new methodologies and new ideas.

We would like to engage and link WONCA members who are working on transforming overly simple silos of disease management into care networks that can address multimorbidity which encompasses physical, biopsychosocial, spiritual and environmental influences. Artificial Intelligence, deep learning are part of this transformation which is occurring internationally with learning systems including IT. Nevertheless, it is ultimately the GP/FM role to use these systems to their best and resist mindless data driven approaches.

Links with other organisations and networks

The North American Primary Care Research Group (NAPCRG), with the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM), is also addressing these issues. There is an overlapping membership between NAPCRG and some WONCA SIGs. Many of the tools developed are available on the STFM website.

Currently, a workshop is being prepared for the next NAPCRG convention with an updating of selected resource materials. In this process materials will be updated in a more user friendly manner for every day practice.

International Society for Systems and Complexity Sciences for Health - Joachim Sturmberg has become the Foundation Chair. The fourth Annual meeting is being held in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA with a strong primary care theme.

International Society for Integrated Care - While multifaceted, the ICIC has a stream of complexity science and input into WONCA Europe.