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Innovations in Health Care Delivery
June 21, 2016

Transforming the Health Care Response to Intimate Partner Violence: Addressing “Wicked Problems”

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Oakland
  • 2Family Violence Prevention Program, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Oakland
JAMA. 2016;315(23):2517-2518. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.4837

The term “wicked problem” describes a difficult, complex, seemingly intractable issue, such as poverty, crime, and climate change.1 In health care, it can refer to stigmatized conditions, such as obesity, substance use disorders, and domestic violence. This Viewpoint discusses how domestic violence (also referred to as intimate partner violence) is being addressed in a large health care organization using an innovative systems model approach, quality improvement methodology, health information technology (IT), and implementation science. The experience from this care delivery innovation may be applicable to other wicked problems and challenging health care issues that contribute disproportionately to reduced quality of life, chronic health conditions, and high health care utilization.