The health-care system is a highly collaborative environment where health-care workers collaborate to care for patients. Health-care organizations (HCOs) design and develop various types of staffing plans to promote collaboration among health-care workers. The existing staffing plans describe the cooperation at a coarse-grained level, such as team scheduling. They seldom consider connections among health-care workers and investigate how health-care workers receive and disseminate information, which is essential evidence to inform actionable staffing interventions to improve care quality and patient safety. In this chapter, we introduce how to apply network analysis methods to electronic health record (EHR) utilization data to learn connections among health-care workers and build networks to describe teamwork in a fine-grained level. The chapter includes: (i) a brief description of the EHR utilization data, (ii) approaches to learn connections among health-care workers, (iii) building health-care worker networks, (iv) developing survey instruments to validate health-care worker networks, (v) introducing sociometric measurements to quantify network structures and positions of health-care workers in the networks, (vi) using statistical models to test associations between teamwork structures and patient outcomes, and (vii) listing examples to learn health-care worker networks in an HCO and a specific setting, including neonatal intensive care unit and trauma.
Part of the book: Teamwork in Healthcare