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New England Complex Systems Institute
238 Main Street Suite 319, Cambridge, MA 02142
Phone: 617-547-4100 Fax: 617-661-7711

While medical knowledge continues to advance and individual patient-physician relationships are effective, the healthcare system itself is in need of attention. Rising costs, medical errors, and low quality of care reflect problems with system organization. Using complex systems science NECSI's research focuses on improving the structure of heath care organizations: how to lower costs, improve preventative medicine, and enhance patient care --- including dramatic reductions in medical errors.

It may seem that each medical error is a unique and special circumstance. But just like symptoms of a disease, medical errors are symptoms of organizational problems of the healthcare system. Addressing these problems can have direct impact on medical errors.

NECSI research on healthcare improvement is a major component of NECSI activities. Key projects are in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Our educational programs on policy and practice have affected many healthcare organizations. To learn more about the insights of our research, to participate in our research or educational programs or to provide support for these important activities, please contact

Publications, Books & Edited Volumes

Y. Bar-Yam, S. Bar-Yam, K.Z. Bertrand, N. Cohen, A.S. Gard-Murray, H.P. Harte, and L. Leykum, A Complex Systems Science Approach to Healthcare Costs and Quality, Handbook of Systems and Complexity in Health (Springer 2013): 855-877. [PDF]

Y. Bar-Yam, D. Harmon, K. Nesbitt, M. Lim, S. Smith, B.A. Perkins, Opportunities in Delivery of Preventive Services in Retail Settings, Handbook of Systems and Complexity in Health (Springer, 2013): 879-887. [PDF]

Y. Bar-Yam, Making Things Work: Solving Complex Problems in a Complex World See Chapters 10 and 11.

NECSI prescription form to help prevent medical errors and improve communication within the healthcare system. Click here to see the form.

L. Leykum, Y. Bar-Yam, The Rationale for System-Level Strategies of Infection Control, NECSI Technical Report (2009).

Y. Bar-Yam, Improving the Effectiveness of Health Care and Public Health: A Multi-Scale Complex Systems Analysis, American Journal of Public Health. 96, 459-466 (2006). press release

Y. Bar-Yam, System Care: Multiscale analysis of Medical Errors—Eliminating errors and improving organizational capabilities, NECSI Technical Report (2004).

Y. Bar-Yam, Multiscale analysis of the healthcare and public health system: Organizing for achieving both effectiveness and efficiency, NECSI Technical Report (2004).

Y. Bar-Yam, DRAFT: Understanding the Healthcare / Medical System Crisis (2003).

Y. Bar-Yam, M. Dierks. Crisis in Medical Care: Spotlight Children's Hospital Boston (2003).

M. Smith, C. Feied, DRAFT: The Emergency Department as a Complex System. (1999)

Y. Bar-Yam, A. Davidson Environmental Complexity: Information For Human-Environment Well-being InterJournal. (1997).

M. Dierks, C. Christian, E. Roth, T. Sheridan, M. Gustafson, M. Zinner, DRAFT: Patient Safety in Complex Medical Settings: A Prospective Study in the Operating Room.

M. Smith, C. Feied, Design of an Emergency Department Process.

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