Complexity science is the study of systems characterized by nonlinear dynamics and emergent properties. In contrast, simple mechanical systems are describable by sets of linear equations lending themselves to conventional scientific methods. But living systems and systems composed of living things display and adapt to changes in unpredictable ways. Complexity science studies systems as complete wholes instead of components or subsystems to effectuate better decisions that are more realistic for clinical and policy decisions.

Complexity is a term that describes how system components interact with one another. For instance, conventional medical science may be less able to predict which patients will experience unanticipated side effects from a new drug. Likewise, healthcare delivery and its many elements are not likely to respond predictably to policy or reimbursement ...

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