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Public Health Reports: Social Network Analysis of Patient Movement Across Health Care Entities in Orange County, Florida

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.

Full article.

Published since 1878, Public Health Reports (PHR) is the official journal of the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General and the U.S. Public Health Service. It is published bimonthly, plus supplement issues, through an official agreement with the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health. The journal is peer-reviewed and publishes original research, reviews, and commentaries related to public health practice and methodology, public health law, and teaching at schools and programs of public health. Journal issues include regular commentaries by the U.S. Surgeon General and the executives of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health.

The journal focuses on such topics as disease surveillance, infectious and chronic diseases, occupational disease and injury, immunization, health disparities, substance use disorders, tobacco use, and many other key and emerging public health concerns. In addition to its 6 regular issues, PHR produces supplemental issues approximately 2-5 times per year, focusing on specific topics of interest to its readership. The journal’s contributors are on the front lines of public health and present their work in a readable and accessible format.

Visit Public Health Reports for more information about the journal.