Use of social network analysis in maternity care to identify the profession most suited for case manager role
SourceMidwifery, 45, (2017), pp. 50-55
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectRadboudumc 10: Reconstructive and regenerative medicine RIMLS: Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences; Radboudumc 16: Vascular damage RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences; Radboudumc 18: Healthcare improvement science RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
OBJECTIVE: To improve Dutch maternity care, professionals start working in interdisciplinary patient-centred networks, which includes the patients as a member. The introduction of the case manager is expected to work positively on both the individual and the network level. However, case management is new in Dutch maternity care. The present study aims to define the profession that would be most suitable to fulfil the role of case manager. DESIGN: The maternal care network in the Nijmegen region was determined by using Social Network Analysis (SNA). SNA is a quantitative methodology that measures and analyses patient-related connections between different professionals working in a network. To identify the case manager we focused on the position, reach, and connections in the network of the maternal care professionals. SETTING: Maternity healthcare professionals in a single region of the Netherlands with an average of 4,500 births/year. PARTICIPANTS: The participants were 214 individual healthcare workers from eight different professions. MEASUREMENTS AND FINDINGS: The total network showed 3948 connections between 214 maternity healthcare professionals with a density of 0.08. Each profession had some central individuals in the network. The 52 community-based midwives were responsible for 51% of all measured connections. The youth health doctors and nurses were mostly situated on the periphery and less connected. The betweenness centrality had the highest score in obstetricians and community-based midwives. Only the community-based midwives had connections with all other groups of professions. Almost all professionals in the network could reach other professionals in two steps.
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