Open Access Study protocol

Social networks of health care providers and patients in cardiovascular risk management: a study protocol

Naomi Heijmans12*, Jan van Lieshout12 and Michel Wensing12

Author Affiliations

1 Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

2 Scientific Institute for Quality of Healthcare, PO 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands

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BMC Health Services Research 2014, 14:265  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-265

Published: 18 June 2014



In recent years, preventive and clinical interventions for cardiovascular risk management have been implemented widely in primary care in the Netherlands. Although this has enhanced quality and outcomes of cardiovascular risk management, further improvement remains possible. In the planned observational study, we aim to examine the role of social networks of healthcare providers and patients in quality and outcomes of cardiovascular risk management.


In a longitudinal observational study, data on social networks of approximately 300 primary care providers from 30 general practices and 900 cardiovascular patients will be collected twice, with a six month interval, using a mix of measures. Social networks are documented with specifically designed questionnaires for patients, relatives, and healthcare professionals. For each included patient, we will extract from medical records to gather data on clinical processes and cardiovascular risk predictors. Data on self-management and psychosocial outcomes of patients will be collected using questionnaires for patients. The analysis focuses on identifying network characteristics, which are associated with (changes in) cardiovascular risk management or self-management.


This research will provide insight into the role of social networks of patients and providers in cardiovascular risk management in primary practice.

Trial registration

Nederlands Trial Register NTR4069.

Social network analysis; Information sharing; Primary care; Cardiovascular disease