Social Networks in Healthcare
Health Quality Learning Group
Monthly Call – March 16th
10 – 11 am
The Network Lens
Org. Chart Understanding
Network Visualization
This is the same IT department seen in two ways – Firstly through a traditional organizational
chart that illustrates reporting lines. Then a network map created by studying work and
communication flows
Blue nodes connecting directly to one another both with internal team members and external
team members
Green (supervisor role) communicating with each (not always)
What else does this tell us?
Valdis Krebs
Influence of Social Networks
Some ways that social networks effect us
• Gain Weight or Lose Weight
• Quit or continue smoking
• Suicide
• Happiness
•A person is 15% more likely to be happy if directly connected to a happy person (1
• At 2 degrees 10% more likely to be happy
• At 3 degrees 6% more likely to be happy
• Each unhappy friend deceases the likelihood of happiness 7%
Source: Christakis and Fowler
The Obesity “Epidemic”
• 66% of Americans are overweight or obese
• From 1990 to 2000, the percentage of obese people in the
USA increased from 21% to 33%
Green Node: nonobese
Yellow Node= obese (size of circle is proportional to BMI)
Source: Christakis and Fowler
Mapping Networks
clusters, not
well integrated
Core not dense
St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula Montana –
Initial Map before MRSA Initiative
Core not diverse
– too small
Mapping Networks
Core is much
Core is more
diverse – more
department and
St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula Montana –
Second Round Map
Still room for
Working with Maps
1. Comparing clusters / lack of connections to infection /
colonization rates? Can we learn something?
2. Who’s on the map and who is missing?
Any surprises? Focus your efforts to get
more people involved and connected.
3. Identify people with common
interests and create the necessary
opportunities for them to work
together – close the triangles
Working with Maps
4. Print maps – large and small – display on
units – people are instantly engaged when
they see their names on a map
5. Use maps in presentations to senior leadership – how has the
network changed – where can it be better – who can help?
Social Network Mapping and Positive
• We are using Positive Deviance (PD) with the hope that it will start to change
how people interact and work
• Social network mapping helps measure social interaction – it takes a snapshot
in time
• By mapping at the start and end of the project, we hope to see a change in the
social network maps that will indicate a change in culture and behaviour, or at
the very least – a change in how people are relating and working together
• The first map may also be useful on its own by pinpointing ‘champions’ or
‘nodes’ that we may be currently unaware of – these individuals may be
important people to engage in PD!