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Table 5 Analysis of studies’ SNA metrics and patient outcome findings

From: Use of social network analysis methods to study professional advice and performance among healthcare providers: a systematic review

Metric Study Patient outcomes Association with metric Overall association
Centrality Effken et al. Adverse drug events (ADEs) “Betweenness centrality” positively correlated (rho = .73) with ADEs Generally, as centrality measures increase, patient outcomes improve; however, there were many patient outcomes for which there was no significant association with a centrality measure. Effken exception. Higher betweenness centrality, with potentially more gatekeepers resulted in more ADEs. With symptom management difference, the seemingly inconsistent association with centrality could actually point to the importance of small group communication with this outcome measure and that those with more out-degree ties are novices seeking advice.
Falls Not significant
Symptom management difference “Centrality out-degree” negatively correlated (rho = −.79) although eigenvector centrality positively correlated (rho = .69)
Symptom management capacity Not significant
Simple self-care management Not significant  
Complex self-care management Not significant
Lindberg et al. Access-related bloodstream infections Not significant
Mundt et al. Alcohol-related emergency department visits Statistically significant (sig.) GLMM model with only weak “in-degree ties” had positive association(RR 1.23, p < 0.01), models with any strong ties had inverse association (RR range 0.8–0.9, p < 0.05)
Alcohol-related hospitalizations Sig. GLMM models with groups of HCWs with any weak “in-degree ties” had positive association (RR 1.1, p < 0.05, RR 1.25, p < 0.01), model with groups of HCWs with only strong ties had inverse association (RR .95, p < 0.05)
Alcohol-related costs per 1000 team patients over 12 months In an average team size of 19, the addition of a HCW with strong “in-degree ties” reduced cost by $1030 (p < 0.05),weak ties increased cost by $2922 (p < 0.01)
Hossain and Guan Wait time to see physician Not significant
Revisits within 72 h Not significant
Deaths within emergency department Not significant
Left before seeing physician “Network centralization” inversely associated (beta = − 0.221, sig. < 0.001)
Metric Study Patient Outcomes Association with metric Overall association
Density Effken et al. Adverse drug events Not significant Density positively associated with improved patient outcomes. However, there were patient outcomes for which there was no significant relationship with density.
Falls Not significant
Symptom management difference Positively associated (rho = 0.70, p < 0.10)
Symptom management capacity positively associated (rho = 0.75, p < 0.10)  
Simple self-care management Not significant
Complex self-care management Not significant
Creswick and Westbrook Prescription error rates (procedural and clinical) Inversely associated (ward A error rates 5.46 and 1.81 with density 12% vs ward B error rates 1.53 and 0.63 with density 7%)
Hossain and Guan Wait time to see physician Inversely associated (beta = − 0.107) for waiting “overestimated triage time” but not significant for “waiting above average”
Revisits within 72 h Inversely associated (beta = − 0.159, sig. = 0.003)
Deaths within emergency department Not significant
Left before seeing physician Inversely associated (beta = − 0.273, sig. < 0.001)