Focusing more on health promotion and prevention requires change in organisational systems and practices.
A health system that focuses on promoting health and wellbeing is one that considers the needs of individuals and of population groups.
A health system that has embraced systems change and is working in health promoting ways will:
- engage with clients to promote health and wellbeing at every chance
- address the determinants of health
- use several health promoting actions
- address health inequities
- ensure people who need the services the most get them
- use appropriate evidence
- work in partnerships with others
- engage with clients and community in a way that is meaningful to them
- seek to create environments that support health and wellbeing
- create and embed an ongoing culture of promoting health and wellbeing
- create partnerships to improve the determinants of health outside the scope of the health sector.
Systems thinking is a way of helping you better understand and make sense of complex situations.
Here are some tips to engage in systems thinking (source: Australian Prevention Partnership Centre and Tasmanian Government)
- Step back to see the bigger picture and explore what else might be influencing a situation.
- What else is going on here?
- Be aware of your mental model and how it influences your perspectives and actions.
- What beliefs and values inform how I see, engage, and react to this situation?
- See yourself in the system and how you engage, contribute and influence it.
- What is my role in this situation? What can I influence?
- Engage diverse perspectives to see a situation from different vantage points.
- Who has a different perspective from my own on this situation and how might they see it?
- Whose voice is not being heard?
- Be present in the moment and listen deeply, without trying to ‘fix’ a problem.
- Am I listening or wanting to talk?
- Am I suspending judgement and criticism?
- Am I being open to new information?
- Question assumptions to surface what has informed them and to question if they are true.
- What assumptions am I making about this situation and how can I test them?
- Uncover unintended consequences before committing to a decision or action.
- What else might happen if we do this?
- What adaptations need to be made as a result?
- Use visual modelling to make sense of, or explain a complex situation, which may reveal new insights.
- Can I draw or illustrate this situation with diagrams, metaphors, relationships or symbols?
- Look for connections and relationships between parts to gain new insights about the whole.
- Which parts have a connection?
- What is their relationship?
- Is there an emerging or recurring pattern?
- Reflect regularly on a situation, interpret and give it deeper learning.
- What did I intend to happen and what actually happened?
- What does it tell me about the system?
- How can I work with this new insight?