Health professional networks as a vector for improving healthcare quality and safety: a systematic review.
Establishing a culture of safety is an essential component of improving safety within an organization. Analysis of programs that have successfully stimulated innovation to tackle safety issues, such as the Keystone ICU project or Kaiser Permanente, have found that a critical aspect of their success has been understanding the dynamics of how groups of professionals work together. This review explores how social network analysis—a method of examining relationships in complex systems, and how these relationships influence dissemination of knowledge and innovation—has been utilized to develop health professional networks for improving quality and safety. With the growing recognition of the role of context in determining the success of patient safety efforts, social network analysis provides an important tool for developing organizational approaches to improving safety.