Using Social Network Analysis to Describe Communication Practices in Healthcare

The Electronic Medical Record (EMR) serves different purposes including documentation of care and billing. The EMR is used to document care delivery, monitor ongoing clinical conditions, and it is also the repository of the patients’ healthcare story. Many people, including healthcare providers, nurses, social workers, therapists, office staff, and nurse care managers (known as the interdisciplinary team, or IDT) work together to deliver healthcare. Members of the IDT use the secure messaging application “Message Center” via the EMR to communicate with, and receive communication from, patients via eHealth (patient portal). An essential part of care coordination is communication, and an analysis of social networks of care providers offers insight into the complexity of care coordination. This research aims to describe how the EMR is used in primary care by nurse care coordinators and other actors across settings to document care coordination activities. Social Network Analysis is used here to expose, map  and extract the communication between different users of the EMR.