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.