What Types of Networks Do Professionals Build, and How Are They Affected by the Results of Network Evaluation?

Junji Haruta, Sho Tsugawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: We aimed to explore what kind of social networks characterizable as “consult/be consulted” are built among healthcare professionals in a community and the impact of providing the professionals with these findings. Methods: We adopted mixed methods exploratory study using social network analysis (SNA) and content analysis. SNA can visualize social network structures such as relationships between individuals. The healthcare professionals were asked about the key persons they consulted and were consulted by concerning these healthcare issues: (1) daily work; (2) a person with acute back pain; (3) a garbage-filled house reported by a neighbor; (4) a person with dementia; and (5) a study meeting. We identified the key roles depending on the issues using SNA. After analysis, the analytical findings were shared with the participants. To explore their cognitive responses, an open-ended questionnaire was delivered and a content analysis was implemented. Results: Of 54 healthcare professional participants, the data of 52 were available for analysis. The findings (in the respective order of the five topics above) were as follows: the number of nodes was 165, 95, 85, 82, and 68; clustering coefficient was 0.19, 0.03, 0.02, 0.11, and 0.23; assortativity was −0.043, −0.11, −0.23, −0.17, and −0.23; reciprocity was 0.35, 0.31, 0.39, 0.29, and 0.48. The top three centralities included nurses. Eighty-seven free comments were received, of which 39 were categorized as descriptive, 10 as analytical, and 38 as critical. Discussion: The structure of “consult/be consulted” networks differed by topic. SNA is available to detect the healthcare resources network and it may have helped them to reflect on their own networks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number758809
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
Volume9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Nov 23

Keywords

  • community medicine
  • content analysis
  • home medical care
  • interprofessional relationships
  • mixed methods
  • social network analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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