Leveraging the informal social networks that exist in health care settings to improve patient safety

The goal of this project is to create a safer health care environment by leveraging the informal social networks that exist in health care settings. The MedStar Health Research Institute team will develop and implement a new social approach called SIGNALS for Patient Safety. SIGNALS (Social Integration of Goals and Network Allocations) is a means to develop a responsive safety culture in which people are more likely to adhere to safe practices because they have social motivation and social rewards attached to excellence in safe care delivery. The research team will identify the informal influencers that can readily diffuse innovation through these networks, with the ultimate goal of creating a social epidemic of safety. The deliverables will include a social network map for two hospital units, including the identification of the key influencers; a list of microinterventions that front-line staff has identified to implement; and a comparison of the SIGNALS intervention with a control unit to determine impact. Even if the project does not yield significantly improved safety outcomes, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation plans to disseminate lessons learned on the use of informal social networks.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $330,565.00

Awarded on: 7/28/2014

Time frame: 8/15/2014 - 8/31/2016

Grant Number: 72004


MedStar Research Institute Inc.

6525 Belcrest Road, Suite 700
Hyattsville, 20782-2031


Raj M. Ratawani
Project Director