In a recent article in Public Health Reports, Ms. Danielle A. Rankin of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County (DOH-Orange) and Sarah D. Matthews of the National Association of County and City Health Officials highlighted DOH-Orange’s development of a baseline social network analysis of patient movement across health care entities in Orange County, Florida, and regionally, within 6 surrounding counties in Central Florida. DOH-Orange constructed two directed network sociograms—graphic visualizations that show the direction of relationships (i.e., county and regional)—by using 2016 health insurance data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Results indicated that both county and regional networks were sparse and centralized. The county-level network showed that acute-care hospitals had the highest influence on controlling the flow of patients between health care entities that would otherwise not be connected. The regional-level network showed that post–acute-care hospitals and other facilities (behavioral hospitals and mental health/substance abuse facilities) served as the primary controls for flow of patients between health care entities. The authors concluded that social network analysis can help local public health officials respond to multidrug-resistant organism (MDRO) outbreak investigations by determining which health care facilities are the main contributors of dissemination of MDROs or are at high risk of receiving patients with MDROs.
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