The Need for Rich Theory to Realize the Vision of Healthcare Network Centric Operations: The Case for Combining ANT and Social Network Analysis

The Need for Rich Theory to Realize the Vision of Healthcare Network Centric Operations: The Case for Combining ANT and Social Network Analysis

Nimini Wickramasinghe (RMIT University, Australia) and Rajeev K. Bali (Coventry University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-197-3.ch003
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Abstract

In a dynamic and complex global environment traditional approaches to healthcare delivery are becoming more and more inadequate. To address this von Lubitz and Wickramasinghe (2006e) proffered the need for a networkcentric approach that allows free and rapid sharing of information and effective knowledge building required for the development of coherent objectives and their rapid attainment. However, to realize this vision it is essential to have rich theory and robust approaches to analyse the levels of complexity of modern healthcare delivery. This paper discusses how this might be done by drawing upon the strong rich analysis tools and techniques of Social Network Analysis combined with Actor Network Theory.
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The Conceptual Basis For Network-Centric Operations

The cardinal details of the networkcentric doctrine of healthcare operations have been described in detail by von Lubitz and Wickramasinghe (2006b-e). The doctrine is rooted in the pioneering work of Boyd (1987, see also von Lubitz and Wickramasinghe, 2006b-ed-e) who analyzed the process of decision making and the fundamental principles of interaction with- and control of- a fast paced and dynamic environment. Critical research-based projects (as applicable in the area of information systems and health) have a growing tradition of qualitative inquiry. Despite its relativist ontology, actor network theory places a strong emphasis on empirical inquiry and actor network theory, is ideally suited to the generation of detailed and contextual empirical knowledge (Doolin B and Lowe A, 2002). Following its initial military applications, Boyd’s OODA Loop as it is presently known, found many adherents and practical uses in a wide variety of civilian applications including medicine (von Lubitz et al., 2004von Lubitz and Wickramasinghe, 2006a-e).

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