A Network Based Theory of Health Systems and Cycles of Well-being

Document Type : Hypothesis


Orrery Consulting, Prins Hendrikkade 160, Amsterdam, The Netherlands


There are two dominant approaches to describe and understand the anatomy of complete health and well-being systems internationally. Yet, neither approach has been able to either predict or explain occasional but dramatic crises in health and well-being systems around the world and in developed emerging market or developing country contexts. As the impacts of such events can be measured not simply in terms of their social and economic consequences but also public health crises, there is a clear need to look for and formulate an alternative approach. This paper examines multi-disciplinary theoretical evidence to suggest that health systems exhibit natural and observable systemic and long cycle characteristics that can be modelled. A health and well-being system model of two slowly evolving anthropological network sub-systems is defined. The first network sub-system consists of organised professional networks of exclusive suppliers of health and well-being services. The second network sub-system consists of communities organising themselves to resource those exclusive services. Together these two network sub-systems interact to form the specific (sovereign) health and well-being systems we know today. But the core of a truly ‘complex adaptive system’ can also be identified and a simplified two sub-system model of recurring Lotka-Volterra predator-prey cycles is specified. The implications of such an adaptive and evolving model of system anatomy for effective public health, social security insurance and well-being systems governance could be considerable.


Main Subjects

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