An Ecology of Health
We refer to 'healthcare' as a system, suggestive of structures and boundaries. What can we take health to mean beyond healthcare? Are our efforts to create 'person centred healthcare' simply a matter of re-drawing organisational charts with patients at the middle? If we define patient as a person in the care of a health professional, are we increasing reliance on a system geared toward the treatment of illness? If we assume free supply is met with unlimited demand, do we, intentionally or otherwise, create a system in that image?
Russell argues that our healthcare systems have, by large, failed to take account of the complexity of people, and that our limited approaches to managing complexity have the perverse effect of increasing demand on an ailing system. He suggests that a radical reconceptualisation of health as an ecological system is necessary - to address the needs of people, rather than the needs of the system.