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Revista Española de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 2173-9110Print version ISSN 1135-5727


MARQUES SANCHEZ, Pilar et al. Social Network Analysis: A Method to Improve Safety in Healthcare Organizations. Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 2013, vol.87, n.3, pp.209-219. ISSN 2173-9110.

Patient safety depends on the culture of the healthcare organization involving relationships between professionals. This article proposes that the study of these relations should be conducted from a network perspective and using a methodology called Social Network Analysis (SNA). This methodology includes a set of mathematical constructs grounded in Graph Theory. With the SNA we can know aspects of the individual's position in the network (centrality) or cohesion among team members. Thus, the SNA allows to know aspects related to security such as the kind of links that can increase commitment among professionals, how to build those links, which nodes have more prestige in the team in generating confidence or collaborative network, which professionals serve as intermediaries between the subgroups of a team to transmit information or smooth conflicts, etc. Useful aspects in stablishing a safety culture. The SNA would analyze the relations among professionals, their level of communication to communicate errors and spontaneously seek help and coordination between departments to participate in projects that enhance safety. Thus, they related through a network, using the same language, a fact that helps to build a culture. In summary, we propose an approach to safety culture from a SNA perspective that would complement other commonly used methods.

Keywords : Patient Safety; Social Networking; Community Networks; Health Policy; Patient Care Team; Cooperative Behavior; Risk Management; Safety Management.

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