Loughborough University
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Applying SoSE in healthcare: the case for a soft systems methodology approach to Digital-first Primary Care

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conference contribution
posted on 2021-08-12, 15:49 authored by Iqra ShahzadIqra Shahzad, Melanie KingMelanie King, Michael HenshawMichael Henshaw
Systems of Systems (SoS) and the challenges they present are very complex. The National Health Service (NHS) is one such complex system within the UK that is facing a number of challenges. These range from an ageing and growing population with evolving healthcare needs, to increasing costs and reliance on private services. As such, a number of programmes and models have been introduced to transform care. Digital-first Primary Care (DfPC) is one such example. DfPC allows for faster and improved patient access to primary care by providing the choice of telephone and online consultations via the patient's GP practice or digital GP providers. The DfPC model has been at the forefront of primary care during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, hence the need for current research to evaluate its impact, suitability, and value in a post-pandemic world. Whilst this area is of high interest in the research community, there exists a gap in the method of analysis used. In this paper, the case for a soft systems methodology approach to DfPC is put forward. It aims to highlight the complexity of the NHS, and the benefits and challenges with online consultations, with initial findings by way of pilot interviews with GPs also being put forth.


The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

Published in

2021 16th International Conference of System of Systems Engineering (SoSE)




2021 16th International System of Systems Engineering Conference (SoSE)




  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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© 2021 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. Permission from IEEE must be obtained for all other uses, in any current or future media, including reprinting/republishing this material for advertising or promotional purposes, creating new collective works, for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or reuse of any copyrighted component of this work in other works.

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  • en


Västerås, Sweden (Online)

Event dates

14th June 2021 - 18th June 2021


Dr Melanie King. Deposit date: 10 May 2021