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Systems healthcare: a holistic paradigm for tomorrow


Systems healthcare is a holistic approach to health premised on systems biology and medicine. The approach integrates data from molecules, cells, organs, the individual, families, communities, and the natural and man-made environment. Both extrinsic and intrinsic influences constantly challenge the biological networks associated with wellness. Such influences may dysregulate networks and allow pathobiology to evolve, resulting in early clinical presentation that requires astute assessment and timely intervention for successful mitigation. Herein, we describe the components of relevant biological systems and the nature of progression from at-risk to manifest disease. We illustrate the systems approach by examining two relevant clinical examples: Alzheimer's and cardiovascular diseases. The implications of systems healthcare management are examined through the lens of economics, ethics, policy and the law. Finally, we propose the need to develop new educational paradigms to enhance the training of the health professional in an era of systems medicine.

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