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Open AccessArticle

Temporal and Atemporal Provider Network Analysis in a Breast Cancer Cohort from an Academic Medical Center (USA)

by Bryan D. Steitz 1,* and Mia A. Levy 1,2
1
Department of Biomedical Informatics, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37201, USA
2
Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology and Oncology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN 37201, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Informatics 2018, 5(3), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/informatics5030034
Received: 30 May 2018 / Revised: 30 July 2018 / Accepted: 31 July 2018 / Published: 6 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Data-Driven Healthcare Research)
Social network analysis (SNA) is a quantitative approach to study relationships between individuals. Current SNA methods use static models of organizations, which simplify network dynamics. To better represent the dynamic nature of clinical care, we developed a temporal social network analysis model to better represent care temporality. We applied our model to appointment data from a single institution for early stage breast cancer patients. Our cohort of 4082 patients were treated by 2190 providers. Providers had 54,695 unique relationships when calculated using our temporal method, compared to 249,075 when calculated using the atemporal method. We found that traditional atemporal approaches to network modeling overestimate the number of provider-provider relationships and underestimate common network measures such as care density within a network. Social network analysis, when modeled accurately, is a powerful tool for organizational research within the healthcare domain. View Full-Text
Keywords: social network analysis; clinical communication networks; clinical workflow social network analysis; clinical communication networks; clinical workflow
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Steitz, B.D.; Levy, M.A. Temporal and Atemporal Provider Network Analysis in a Breast Cancer Cohort from an Academic Medical Center (USA). Informatics 2018, 5, 34.

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