Health care provider social network analysis: A systematic review

Sung Heui Bae, Alexander Nikolaev, Jin Young Seo, Jessica Castner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Objectives: Although considerable progress has been made in understanding networks, their structure, and their development, little has been known about their effectiveness in the health care setting and their contributions to quality of care and patient safety.The purpose of this study was to examine studies using social network analysis (SNA) in the health care workforce and assess factors contributing to social network and their relationships with care processes and patient outcomes. Methods: We identified all published peer-reviewed SNA articles in CINAHL, PubMed, PsycINFO, JSTOR, Medline (OVID), and Web of Science databases up to April 2013. Results: Twenty-nine published articles met the inclusion criteria. Current evidence of the health care workforce's social networks reveals the nature of social ties are related to personal characteristics, practice setting, and types of patients. A few studies also revealed the social network effects adoption and the use of a health information system, patient outcomes, and coordination. Conclusions: Current studies on the social ties of health care workforce professionals include several assessments of inefficiencies. The level of technical sophistication in these studies tended to be low. Future study using enhanced sophistication in study design, analysis, and patient outcome testing are warranted to fully leverage the potential of SNA in health care studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)566-584
Number of pages19
JournalNursing Outlook
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Inc.


  • Care process
  • Health care provider
  • Patient outcomes
  • Social network analysis
  • Systematic review


Dive into the research topics of 'Health care provider social network analysis: A systematic review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this