An exploratory study of networks constructed using access data from an electronic health record

Nengliang Yao, X. Zhu, Alan Dow, Vimal K. Mishra, Allison Phillips, Shin-Ping Tu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Network analysis may be a powerful tool for studying interprofessional practice. Using electronic health record data and social network analysis, the network of healthcare professionals involved in colorectal cancer care at a large, urban academic medical center were mapped and studied. A total of 100 surgical colorectal cancer patients receiving treatment in 2013 and 2014 were selected at random. We used detailed access logs for the EHR to map the network of all healthcare professionals for each patient, including inpatient and outpatient settings. Approximately 2.45 million records of access logs from more than 6,800 unique users, representing over 150 roles or occupations were analyzed. Across all networks, professionals were connected to an average of 5.8 other professionals, but some were rarely connected with others while over 20 were very highly connected (> 100 other professionals). Housestaff, attending physicians, and nurses played central roles in the global network with a high number of inter- and intra-professional connections. Clusters of professionals with frequent interaction were demonstrated but, based on the size and complexity of the network, serendipitous interactions were unlikely. Settings for care seemed to influence these clusters. Patient-centric care networks were similar to the global network with some potentially important differences. Access-log information from electronic health records can be an important source of information about relationships between healthcare professionals. Findings from analyses such as this one may help define the state of current networks and potential targets for interventions to improve the quality of care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Interprofessional Care
StateAccepted/In press - Jul 14 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Interprofessional care
  • Interprofessional collaboration
  • quantitative method
  • teams
  • teamwork

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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