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Conference Abstracts

Interorganisational social network analysis of service providers in a new integrated care initiative

Authors:

Janet Long ,

Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Macquarie University, NSW, AU
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Kathryn Costantino,

Sydney Local Health District, NSW, AU
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Chiara Pomare,

Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Macquarie University, AU
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Erin Miller,

Sydney Local Health District, NSW, AU
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John Eastwood

Sydney Local Health District, NSW, AU
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Abstract

Introduction: Healthy Homes and Neighbourhoods (HHAN) is a care initiative that seeks to facilitate integration of multiple agencies serving vulnerable families in Sydney Australia. As part of a broader evaluation, we examined the types and quality of interagency relationships involved in HHAN, and perceptions of advantages, disadvantages and levels of support for collaboration.

Methods: A purposive sample was drawn from 29 senior managers of agencies affiliated with HHAN who provided responses on behalf of their agency. The term agency indicates work units that may be stand alone or part of a larger organisation.  Responses were collected between October 2017 and February 2018 through an online survey, administered at the end of a semi-structured interview that formed part of the larger research project. Respondents reported on relationships between member agencies selecting from: “we send referrals to them”, “we receive referrals from them”, “we share information about clients”, “we work together in other ways”. The quality of each of these relationships were rated on a three-point scale: (1) somewhat trusted; (2) trusted; and, (3) highly trusted.  Advantages and disadvantages were presented as statements and respondents were asked to select those that had already happened, were expected to happen, or were not expected to happen.

Results: Interactions were explored between selected agencies involved in HHAN (n=20) and 26 additional agencies that were nominated as collaborative partners by respondents (N=46).  The General Collaboration network (pooling all types of relationship) had a relatively low density (9.2%).

Most common form of collaboration was “works with in other ways.” Most partner relationships were rated as highly trusted. Sociograms of the network will be presented.

Executive support for collaboration with other services ranged from medium to very strong indicating a positive perception of top down support. Support for collaboration from staff with direct client interaction was slightly lower.

“Ability to serve our clients better” was reported by all respondents as a current benefit of interagency collaboration. The benefit with the most frequent report of not being expected to happen was “acquisition of additional funding or other resources.” Respondents had more varied experience of disadvantages of collaboration. The most common disadvantages selected were: “unreliable partners”, “service and time restraints,” which had been experienced by around 50% of respondents.

Discussion: Interagency collaboration clearly benefits families and increases our understanding of population needs by pooling research but there are barriers and costs involved in working together that require careful management.

Limitations: Our sample was drawn from a group already working towards greater integration of services.

Suggestion for future research: A greater number of respondents, including agencies from outside HHAN would enhance understanding.

Conclusion: Enhanced understanding of community and population needs through research and pooling of information across the network of organisations was a clear and valued vision of most respondents.

Lessons Learned: While these and other benefits to collaboration were clear, the costs were also apparent. Executive staff should use a strategic approach to collaboration, ensuring goals are articulated and aligned.

How to Cite: Long J, Costantino K, Pomare C, Miller E, Eastwood J. Interorganisational social network analysis of service providers in a new integrated care initiative. International Journal of Integrated Care. 2019;19(4):85. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/ijic.s3085
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Published on 08 Aug 2019.

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