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Complex Systems' Grantees Parchman and Scoglio's Research Published in Implementation Science

In April 2009, NAKFI awarded Complex Systems’ attendees Caterina Scoglio, Associate Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Kansas State University, Manhattan, and Michael Parchman, Mario E. Ramirez Endowed Distinguished Professor, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, a $25,000 grant to research the quality of care and network properties of outpatient healthcare delivery in the Veterans Health Administration. Research results were published in the February 24, 2011 issue of Implementation Science.
The research has been carried out with the invaluable contribution of Phillip Schumm, PhD student in Electrical Engineering at Kansas State University.

"Healthcare systems can be viewed as complex adaptive systems, such as electric power grid, telecommunications networks, the Internet, biological systems, and ecological systems,” explained Parchman. “Improving our understanding of these care delivery in these systems through the lens of complexity, we can work toward improving interventions, quality of care and, ultimately, patient outcomes.”

“This funding is the first important step in establishing a long-term fundable research agenda,” said Scoglio.  “The overall connectivity of the patient-provider network would be much lower if only 10 to 20 specific primary care nodes were removed with two possible consequences. First, it is possible that such a node removal can affect the propagation of new information across the network. So although this network is robust to random removal of nodes, targeted removal of 10 to 20 specific primary care nodes could severely restrain the ability of the network to spread new ideas or knowledge. This finding also suggests that improving dissemination and implementation of evidence- based practice across the network might be accelerated by targeting changes in the behaviors of these major hubs on the network.”