IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Social network analysis in primary care: The impact of interactions on prescribing behaviour


  • Fattore, Giovanni
  • Frosini, Francesca
  • Salvatore, Domenico
  • Tozzi, Valeria


Objectives In many healthcare systems of affluent countries, general practitioners (GPs) are encouraged to work in collaborative arrangements to increase patients' accessibility and the quality of care. There are two lines of thought regarding the ways in which belonging to a network can affect GP behaviour: (1) the social capital framework posits that, through relationships, individuals acquire resources, such as information, that allow them to perform better; and (2) the social influence framework sees relationships as avenues through which individual actors influence other individuals and through which behavioural norms are developed and enforced. The objective of this study is to provide an evaluation of the effects of GP network organisation on their prescribing behaviour.Methods We used administrative data from a Local Health Authority (LHA) in Italy concerning GPs organisation and prescriptions.Results We found that GPs working in a collaborative arrangement have a similar prescribing behaviour while we did not find a significant relationship between the centrality of a GP and her capability to meet LHA's targets.Conclusions Our data support the conclusion that, in the case of GP collaboration initiatives, the social influence mechanism is more relevant than the social capital mechanism.

Suggested Citation

  • Fattore, Giovanni & Frosini, Francesca & Salvatore, Domenico & Tozzi, Valeria, 2009. "Social network analysis in primary care: The impact of interactions on prescribing behaviour," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 92(2-3), pages 141-148, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:hepoli:v:92:y:2009:i:2-3:p:141-148

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. de Jong, Judith D. & Groenewegen, Peter P. & Westert, Gert P., 2003. "Mutual influences of general practitioners in partnerships," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 57(8), pages 1515-1524, October.
    2. Wennberg, John E. & Barnes, Benjamin A. & Zubkoff, Michael, 1982. "Professional uncertainty and the problem of supplier-induced demand," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 16(7), pages 811-824, January.
    3. Kanouse, David E. & Kallich, Joel D. & Kahan, James P., 1995. "Dissemination of effectiveness and outcomes research," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 167-192, December.
    4. West, Elizabeth & Barron, David N. & Dowsett, Juliet & Newton, John N., 1999. "Hierarchies and cliques in the social networks of health care professionals: implications for the design of dissemination strategies," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 48(5), pages 633-646, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Chiara Seghieri & Alessandro Mengoni & Sabina Nuti, 2014. "Applying discrete choice modelling in a priority setting: an investigation of public preferences for primary care models," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 15(7), pages 773-785, September.
    2. Donatini A. & Fiorentini G. & Lippi Bruni M. & Mammi I. & Ugolini C., 2014. "Dealing with minor illnesses: the link between primary care characteristics and First Aid Clinics’ attendances," Working Papers wp925, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    3. Fiorentini, Gianluca & Lippi Bruni, Matteo & Ugolini, Cristina, 2013. "GPs and hospital expenditures. Should we keep expenditure containment programs alive?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 10-20.
    4. Hannemann-Weber, Henrike & Kessel, Maura & Schultz, Carsten, 2012. "Research performance of centers of expertise for rare diseases—The influence of network integration, internal resource access and operational experience," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 105(2), pages 138-145.
    5. Jippes, Erik & Achterkamp, Marjolein C. & Brand, Paul L.P. & Kiewiet, Derk Jan & Pols, Jan & van Engelen, Jo M.L., 2010. "Disseminating educational innovations in health care practice: Training versus social networks," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 70(10), pages 1509-1517, May.
    6. Mascia, Daniele & Dandi, Roberto & Di Vincenzo, Fausto, 2014. "Professional networks and EBM use: A study of inter-physician interaction across levels of care," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 118(1), pages 24-36.
    7. Sara Barsanti & Manila Bonciani & Federico Vola & Luca Pirisi, 2016. "Innovatori, indecisi, bisognosi o autonomi. I medici di medicina generale tra integrazione e accountability," MECOSAN. Menagement e economia sanitaria, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2016(98), pages 9-39.
    8. Dunn, Adam G. & Westbrook, Johanna I., 2011. "Interpreting social network metrics in healthcare organisations: A review and guide to validating small networks," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 72(7), pages 1064-1068, April.
    9. Huesch, Marco D., 2011. "Is blood thicker than water? Peer effects in stent utilization among Floridian cardiologists," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(12), pages 1756-1765.
    10. Visca, Modesta & Donatini, Andrea & Gini, Rosa & Federico, Bruno & Damiani, Gianfranco & Francesconi, Paolo & Grilli, Leonardo & Rampichini, Carla & Lapini, Gabriele & Zocchetti, Carlo & Di Stanislao,, 2013. "Group versus single handed primary care: A performance evaluation of the care delivered to chronic patients by Italian GPs," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 113(1), pages 188-198.
    11. Lippi Bruni, Matteo & Mammi, Irene & Ugolini, Cristina, 2016. "Does the extension of primary care practice opening hours reduce the use of emergency services?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 144-155.
    12. Ugolini, Cristina & Lippi Bruni, Matteo & Mammi, Irene & Donatini, Andrea & Fiorentini, Gianluca, 2016. "Dealing with minor illnesses: The link between primary care characteristics and Walk-in Centres’ attendances," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 120(1), pages 72-80.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:hepoli:v:92:y:2009:i:2-3:p:141-148. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu) or (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.