Primary care networks and team effectiveness: the case of a large-scale quality improvement disparity reduction program

J Interprof Care. Sep-Oct 2019;33(5):472-480. doi: 10.1080/13561820.2018.1538942. Epub 2018 Nov 13.


Documentation of primary care teams' involvement in disparity reduction efforts exists, yet little is known about how teams interact or perceive their effectiveness. We investigated how the social network and structural ties among primary-care-clinic team members relate to their perceived team effectiveness (TE), in a large-scale disparity reduction intervention in Israel's largest insurer and provider of services. A mixed-method design of Social Network Analysis and qualitative data collection was employed. 108 interviews with medical, nursing, and administrative teams of 26 clinics and their respective managerial units were performed and information on the organizational ties, analyzing density and centrality, collected. Pearson correlations examined association between network measures and perceived TE. Clinics with strong intra-clinic density and high clinic-subregional-management density were positively correlated with perceived TE. Clinic in-degree centrality was also positively associated with perceived TE. Qualitative analyses support these findings with teamwork emerging as a factor which can impede or facilitate teams' ability to design and implement disparity reduction interventions. The study demonstrates that in an organization-wide disparity reduction initiative, cohesive intra-network structure and close relations with mid-level management increase the likelihood that teams perceive themselves as possessing the skills and resources needed to lead and implement disparity reduction efforts. List of abbreviations Team Effectiveness (TE); Clalit Health Services (Clalit); Social Network Analysis (SNA); Quality Improvement (QI); National Health Care Collaborative (NHPC); Tampa Bay Community Cancer Network (TBCCN).

Keywords: Disparities; Perceived Team Effectiveness; Quality Improvement; Social Network Analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Healthcare Disparities*
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Patient Care Team / standards*
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality Improvement*
  • Social Networking
  • Surveys and Questionnaires