Document Type


Degree Name



Department of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology


Oregon Health & Science University


Persistent increases in the prevalence of chronic disease and multi-­‐morbidity, resulting in complicated and often fragmented care plans, is a significant barrier to the provision of high-­‐quality, safe and low-­‐cost care. Overcoming these barriers requires not only novel interventions, but also novel ways of measuring the impact of these complex, often multi-­‐faceted interventions. LOOP is a cross-­‐institutional, cross-­‐professional online social networking application involving the patient that aims to improve the coordination of care for patients, in this instance, with advanced malignancies and a terminal prognosis. Social networking analysis is a relatively new methodology in healthcare for the assessment of the collaborative activities within teams of care. In this Capstone, the tools of social networking analysis are described and applied to the analysis of LOOP, specifically in an attempt to determine how well the tool is facilitating online collaborative behavior and care. Major findings of this analysis are that many actors are discussed in conversation who do not have accounts in the system, that a facilitator of the online interaction has the potential to improve communication and the exchange of patient care related information, that online teams in LOOP tend to be fragmented, sparse and minimally collaborative, and that of all the actors in the system, it is the patients and caregivers that are key to well-­‐functioning online teams. LOOP is acting as a critical bridge by given patients and caregivers access to their healthcare providers with minimal barriers, but it is not necessarily increasing the collaborative activity between those providers. Ongoing assessments of the barriers to uptake and participation in tools like LOOP, longitudinal assessments of team activity in different patient populations, and correlations of observed online activity with hard clinical outcomes when available are all critical activities to optimize the usage of these collaborative tools in healthcare.


School of Medicine



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