A complex adaptive systems perspective of health information technology implementation

Karim Keshavjee*, Craig Kuziemsky, Karim Vassanji, Ahmad Ghany

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Implementing health information technology (HIT) is a challenge because of the complexity and multiple interactions that define HIT implementation. Much of the research on HIT implementation is descriptive in nature and has focused on distinct processes such as order entry or decision support. These studies fail to take into account the underlying complexity of the processes, people and settings that are typical of HIT implementations. Complex adaptive systems (CAS) is a promising field that could elucidate the complexity and non-linear interacting issues that are typical in HIT implementation. Initially we sought new models that would enable us to better understand the complex nature of HIT implementation, to proactively identify problem issues that could be a precursor to unintended consequences and to develop new models and new approaches to successful HIT implementations. Our investigation demonstrates that CAS does not provide prediction, but forces us to rethink our HIT implementation paradigms and question what we think we know. CAS provides new ways to conceptualize HIT implementation and suggests new approaches to increasing HIT implementation successes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-213
Number of pages5
JournalStudies in Health Technology and Informatics
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Complex adaptive systems
  • HIT implementation
  • interoperability
  • process redesign
  • simulation modeling


Dive into the research topics of 'A complex adaptive systems perspective of health information technology implementation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this