Network Analysis Approach to Stroke Care and Assistance Provision: An Empirical Study

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Abstract

To model and analyse stroke care and assistance provision in the Portuguese context from the network perspective. We used the network theory as a theoretical foundation for the study. The model proposed by Frey et al. (2006) was used to elicit and comprehend possible interactions and relations between organisations expected to be involved in the provision of care and assistance to stroke patients in their pathway to rehabilitation. Providers were identified and contacted to evaluate the nature and intensity of relationships. Network analysis was performed with the NodeXL software package. Analysis of 509 entities based on about 260 000 entries indicates that stroke care provision in the evaluated context is best captured in the coalition-collaboration setting, which appears to best demonstrate the character of the network. Information from analysis of the collaboration stage was not sufficient to determine the network dynamics. Application of the network theory to understand interorganisational dynamics of the complex health care context. Empirical validation of the model proposed by Frey et al. (2006) in terms of its operationalisation and the way it actually reflects the practical context. Examination and analysis of interorganisational relationships and its contribution to management of compound health care context involving actors from various sectors.

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