The Effect of Social Networks on Clinical Case-Based Reasoning

Sivan Rapaport* Meira Levy, Department of Industrial Engineering & Management, Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, Ramat-Gan, Israel
Sivan Rapaport*, Industrial Engineering & Management and Deutsche Telekom Laboratories, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel
Dikla Agur Cohen, Department of Family Medicine in Haifa, Clalit Health Servise and Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion- Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel
Lior Fink, Industrial Engineering & Management, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel
Nava Pliskin, Industrial Engineering & Management, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel

Track: Research
Presentation Topic: The nature and dynamics of social networks in health
Presentation Type: Oral presentation
Submission Type: Single Presentation

Building: LKSC Conference Center Stanford
Room: Breakout Classroom
Date: 2011-09-18 03:00 PM – 04:30 PM
Last modified: 2011-08-12

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The emergence of Medicine 2.0 applications and services, which facilitate social networking, participation, openness and collaboration within and between health providers and consumers, is enabled by Web 2.0 technologies. Medicine 2.0 applications have the potential to foster knowledge exchange, time saving and clinical innovation transfer. The social collaborative dimension of Web 2.0, in particular, offers ways to cultivate and exploit knowledge sharing in healthcare. The main barrier to knowledge sharing, however, is transforming the tacit knowledge embedded in the minds of people to explicit knowledge for access by other people. In decision-making processes especially, understanding the rationale behind decisions is critical for ensuring systematic medical decision-making processes. While there is vast research on the role of medical social networks in providing knowledge to physicians and patients and in enabling new communication patterns among these groups, there is a lack of research from the perspective of social-cognitive theory on how Web 2.0
applications influence clinical decision-making processes. This study's objective is to analyze usage patterns within a social network of physicians, encompassing mechanisms of medical knowledge sharing and collaboration, and to ascertain whether social networking cognitively influences decision-making processes of physicians. For physicians involved with decision-making processes in a specific clinical case, the purpose of the study is to compare their willingness to use (and actually use) several knowledge artifacts originating from the social network (e.g., statistics, decisions by other, decision rationale).
The activities within a social network consisting of about 300 primary care physicians in Israel regarding a clinical case published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) are analyzed. Both qualitative and quantitative methods are applied to measure activities within this social network, perform content analysis of decisions and rationale, and survey via a questionnaire for data collection about the decision making processes. The first phase of study is devoted to analysis of routine activities within the studied social network. The second phase of study is devoted to finding whether, in the context of the specific NEJM case and when faced with the option of 1) getting additional information (e.g., statistics or the rationale for the preferred treatment) and 2) accessing the decisions of colleagues and the rationalization for their choices, physicians actually use the additional information. In addition, the effect on decision-making, comparing between the physician's decision before and after the supply of additional information, is assessed and reflections upon the decision-making process are collected via a questionnaire.
Research in progress. The results may help design social networks that can support physicians' decision-making.
Research in progress. The potential contribution of this study is to shed light on the role of social networks as a platform for knowledge capture and transfer, and their effect on physicians’ decision-making processes.

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