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BMC Health Services Research

, 13:429

Organization, structure and delivery of healthcare


BackgroundExtant research suggests that there is a strong social component to Evidence-Based Medicine EBM adoption since professional networks amongst physicians are strongly associated with their attitudes towards EBM. Despite this evidence, it is still unknown whether individual attitudes to use scientific evidence in clinical decision-making influence the position that physicians hold in their professional network. This paper explores how physicians’ attitudes towards EBM is related to the network position they occupy within healthcare organizations.

MethodsData pertain to a sample of Italian physicians, whose professional network relationships, demographics and work-profile characteristics were collected. A social network analysis was performed to capture the structural importance of physicians in the collaboration network by the means of a core-periphery analysis and the computation of network centrality indicators. Then, regression analysis was used to test the association between the network position of individual clinicians and their attitudes towards EBM.

ResultsFindings documented that the overall network structure is made up of a dense cohesive core of physicians and of less connected clinicians who occupy the periphery. A negative association between the physicians’ attitudes towards EBM and the coreness they exhibited in the professional network was also found. Network centrality indicators confirmed these results documenting a negative association between physicians’ propensity to use EBM and their structural importance in the professional network.

ConclusionsAttitudes that physicians show towards EBM are related to the part core or periphery of the professional networks to which they belong as well as to their structural importance. By identifying virtuous attitudes and behaviors of professionals within their organizations, policymakers and executives may avoid marginalization and stimulate integration and continuity of care, both within and across the boundaries of healthcare providers.

KeywordsEvidence-Based Medicine Hospital organizations Social networks Core-periphery analysis Structural importance AbbreviationsEBMEvidence-based medicine

INHSItalian National Health Service

LHALocal Health Authority.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1472-6963-13-429 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Daniele Mascia - Americo Cicchetti - Gianfranco Damiani


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