Social ties between team members affect patient satisfaction: a data-driven approach to handling complex network analyses

Betina Ristorp Andersen, Jesper Løve Hinrich, Maria Birkvad Rasmussen, Sune Lehmann, Charlotte Ringsted, Ellen Løkkegaard, Martin G Tolsgaard

11 Citations (Scopus)


Research from outside the medical field suggests that social ties between team-members influence knowledge sharing, improve coordination, and facilitate task completion. However, the relative importance of social ties among team-members for patient satisfaction remains unknown. In this study, we explored the association between social ties within emergency teams performing simulated caesarean sections (CS) and patient-actor satisfaction. Two hundred seventy-two participants were allocated to 33 teams performing two emergency CSs in a simulated setting. We collected data on social ties between team-members, measured as affective, personal and professional ties. Ties were rated on 5-point Likert scales. In addition, participants' clinical experience, demographic data and their knowledge about team members' roles were surveyed. Perceived patient satisfaction was measured on a 5-point Likert scale. Data was analysed with a linear regression model using elastic net regularization. In total, 109 predictor variables were analysed including 84 related to social ties and 25 related to clinical experience, demographics and knowledge test scores. Of the 84 variables reflecting social ties, 34 (41%) had significant association with patient satisfaction, p < 0.01. By contrast, a significant association with patient satisfaction was found for only one (4%) of the 25 variables reflecting clinical experience, demographics and knowledge of team roles. Affective ties and personal ties were found to be far more important predictors in the statistical model than professional ties and predictors relating to clinical experience. Social ties between emergency team members may be important predictors of patient satisfaction. The results from this study help to enhance our conceptual understanding of social ties and their implications for team-dynamics. Our study challenges existing views of team-performance by placing emphasis on achieving collective competence through affective and personal social ties, rather than focusing on traditional measures of expertise.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAdvances in health sciences education : theory and practice
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)581-606
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • Education
  • Patient satisfaction
  • Simulation
  • Social ties


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