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Network analysis of team communication in a busy emergency department

Patterson, PD and Pfeiffer, AJ and Weaver, MD and Krackhardt, D and Arnold, RM and Yealy, DM and Lave, JR (2013) Network analysis of team communication in a busy emergency department. BMC Health Services Research, 13 (1).

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Background: The Emergency Department (ED) is consistently described as a high-risk environment for patients and clinicians that demands colleagues quickly work together as a cohesive group. Communication between nurses, physicians, and other ED clinicians is complex and difficult to track. A clear understanding of communications in the ED is lacking, which has a potentially negative impact on the design and effectiveness of interventions to improve communications. We sought to use Social Network Analysis (SNA) to characterize communication between clinicians in the ED. Methods. Over three-months, we surveyed to solicit the communication relationships between clinicians at one urban academic ED across all shifts. We abstracted survey responses into matrices, calculated three standard SNA measures (network density, network centralization, and in-degree centrality), and presented findings stratified by night/day shift and over time. Results: We received surveys from 82% of eligible participants and identified wide variation in the magnitude of communication cohesion (density) and concentration of communication between clinicians (centralization) by day/night shift and over time. We also identified variation in in-degree centrality (a measure of power/influence) by day/night shift and over time. Conclusions: We show that SNA measurement techniques provide a comprehensive view of ED communication patterns. Our use of SNA revealed that frequency of communication as a measure of interdependencies between ED clinicians varies by day/night shift and over time. © 2013 Patterson et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Patterson, PDpdp3@pitt.eduPDP3
Pfeiffer, AJ
Weaver, MD
Krackhardt, D
Arnold, RMrabob@pitt.eduRABOB
Yealy, DMdmy@pitt.eduDMY
Lave, JRlave@pitt.eduLAVE
Date: 26 March 2013
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: BMC Health Services Research
Volume: 13
Number: 1
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1186/1472-6963-13-109
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Health Policy & Management
School of Medicine > Emergency Medicine
School of Medicine > Medicine
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2016 15:14
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2019 15:58


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