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 Chapter 2:  The Epidemiologic Systems Approach

 

Introduction

The usage of the concept of a "system" here refers to the assembly of factors connected with each other in some form of coherent relationship; all working towards the same or common goal. For example, an epidemiologic study of a specific disease or health entity must begin with the task of identifying and defining the various states of health (or disease), the determinants that affect the system under study, the relationships amongst the variables as these interact to affect the outcome of the specific condition under study etc.

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The framework which facilitates the understanding of the concept of epidemiologic systems is the examination of what is referred to as the epidemiologic triad.

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We have developed what is referred to as the Problem Oriented Epidemiologic Approach to present a typical problem-solving activity. It consists of two major steps. These are:

1. Problem Identification and Definition
2. Problem Solution or Management

Problem Identification and Definition

In Biomedicine in general and Epidemiology in particular, the first problem-solving step classically leads to the what is referred to as DIAGNOSIS. Note that this also is the first decision-making step in medicine.


Problem Solution or Problem Management

Once a problem has been identified and well understood, the next step is to solve the problem. This general area is referred to as Problem Management since quite often the problem has toe managed since it may not be easily resolved.

 

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