Using *oRA, a network analysis tool, to assess the relationship of handoffs to quality and safety outcomes

Judith A. Effken, Sheila M. Gephart, Barbara B. Brewer, Kathleen M. Carley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations


Communication during patient handoffs has been widely implicated in patient safety issues. However, few studies have actually been able to quantify the relationship between handoffs and patient outcomes. We used *ORA, a dynamic network analysis tool, to examine handoffs between day and night shifts on seven units in three hospitals in the Southwest. Using *ORA's visualization and analysis capabilities, we examined the relationships between the handoff communication network metrics and a variety of patient safety quality and satisfaction outcomes. Unique network patterns were observed for different types of outcome variable (eg, safety, symptom management, self-care, and patient satisfaction). This exploratory project demonstrates the power of *ORA to identify communication patterns for large groups, such as patient care units. *ORA's network metrics can then be related to specific patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-44
Number of pages9
JournalCIN - Computers Informatics Nursing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013



  • Communication networks
  • Nursing-sensitive patient outcomes
  • ORA
  • Patient Outcome
  • Patient handoffs
  • Social Networking analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Nursing (miscellaneous)

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