A social network analysis of healthcare professional relationships in a French hospital

Int J Health Care Qual Assur. 2010;23(5):460-9. doi: 10.1108/09526861011050501.


Purpose: This paper aims to describe relationships among healthcare professionals in a French public hospital using social network analysis (SNA) and to improve health service quality by strengthening health service management and leadership.

Design/methodology/approach: This study was based on a questionnaire sent to randomly selected French public hospital professionals and administrators. Network composition measures were obtained using a name generator. Analysis focused on three main indicators: "centrality", "prestige", and "clique participants". The SNA was carried out using UCINET and statistical analyses were performed with SPSS version 15.0.

Findings: A total of 104 questionnaires were returned and analysed. Centrality, prestige and clique indicators were highly correlated (all p-value were less than 0.01). Physicians had the highest scores for the three indicators. Older age (> or = 45 years) was associated with higher centrality and clique numbers scores. Transversal activity was associated with higher scores than other specific activities (hospitalisation, ambulatory care), except for emergency care.

Originality/value: The paper shows how networks and SNA techniques provide novel and useful means to understand communication and collaboration between hospital professionals.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Female
  • France
  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Hospital Administration*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Support*