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Social Network Analysis as a Tool to Inform a Children's Hospital's Efforts to Improve Population Health

  • Author Footnotes
    1 Present address: 348 Mansfield Road, Storrs, CT 06269.
    Eminet Abebe Gurganus
    Footnotes
    1 Present address: 348 Mansfield Road, Storrs, CT 06269.
    Affiliations
    Office for Community Child Health (EA Gurganus, L Honigfeld and PH Dworkin), Connecticut Children's, Hartford, Conn
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  • Author Footnotes
    2 Present address: 103 Fox Chase Lane, West Hartford, CT 06117.
    Lisa Honigfeld
    Footnotes
    2 Present address: 103 Fox Chase Lane, West Hartford, CT 06117.
    Affiliations
    Office for Community Child Health (EA Gurganus, L Honigfeld and PH Dworkin), Connecticut Children's, Hartford, Conn

    Child Health and Development Institute (L Honigfeld), Farmington, Conn
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  • Paul H. Dworkin
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to Paul H. Dworkin, MD, Office for Community Child Health, Connecticut Children's, 282 Washington St, Hartford, CT 06106.
    Affiliations
    Office for Community Child Health (EA Gurganus, L Honigfeld and PH Dworkin), Connecticut Children's, Hartford, Conn

    Department of Pediatrics (PH Dworkin), University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, Conn
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  • Author Footnotes
    1 Present address: 348 Mansfield Road, Storrs, CT 06269.
    2 Present address: 103 Fox Chase Lane, West Hartford, CT 06117.
Published:April 10, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acap.2022.04.002

      Abstract

      Objectives

      A children's hospital explored the feasibility and utility of social network analysis as a tool for system building in community child health, to identify gaps and opportunities in community partnerships, and to assess its role as a contributor to collective impact.

      Methods

      We employed social network analysis with the PARTNER survey to assess relationships among community-based organizations and a children's hospital's community-oriented programs. We utilized a two-stage, snowball sampling strategy to identify community partners. We analyzed social capital, network density, degree centralization, perceived trust, and perceived value. Network mapping depicted the hospital programs’ relationships with community partners.

      Results

      Of the 153 contacted potential respondents, 76 responded for a response rate of 50%. Respondents reported a total of 1116 ties, ranging in strength from awareness and cooperation to coordination and integration. Approximately 60% of network members could reach 100 or more members in 2 steps or less. The overall network trust score was 74%. Network mapping indicated that hospital programs enhance bonding relationships within sectors, bridge gaps between partners from different sectors, and provide linkages to resources such as funders. Deficits in bonding, bridging, and access to funding are evident when the hospital's programs are omitted from network maps.

      Conclusions

      Findings support the feasibility and utility of social network analysis as a tool for system building in community child health. The study demonstrates the potential of a children's hospital's programs to provide social capital in the form of bonding, bridging, and linking relationships.

      Keywords

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