Relationship of Staff Information Sharing and Advice Networks to Patient Safety Outcomes

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to compare information sharing and advice networks' relationships with patient safety outcomes.

BACKGROUND

Communication contributes to medical errors, but rarely is it clear what elements of communication are key.

METHODS

We investigated relationships of information-sharing and advice networks to patient safety outcomes in 24 patient care units from 3 hospitals over 7 months. Web-based questionnaires completed via Android tablets provided data to create 2 networks using ORA, a social network analysis application. Each hospital provided nurse-sensitive patient safety outcomes.

RESULTS

In both networks, medication errors correlated positively with node count and average distance and negatively with clustering coefficient. Density and weighted density negatively correlated with medication errors and falls in both networks. Eigenvector and total degree centrality correlated negatively with both safety outcomes, whereas betweenness centrality positively related to falls in the information-sharing network.

CONCLUSION

Technology-enabled social network analysis data collection is feasible and can provide managers actionable system-level information.

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