This study demonstrates a data-driven management approach to implementing quality improvement in public health collaboratives; findings are used to recommend a strategic management approach.
Varda modeled a simulated urban community in which organizations began to work collaboratively to address a public health issue in order to demonstrate Strategic Collaborative Management (SCM) as a data-driven management strategy. She used the social network analysis program PARTNER to measure the network of collaborating community partners in the simulation.
The author developed SCM as a framework for improving collaboration. Network data, such as that analyzed in the simulation, can help with navigating the steps of the SCM process, which involve considering what resources each partner has to contribute to the group and how to manage them; organizations’ influence and trustworthiness; and where partners’ ties should be fostered or strengthened. Based on the simulation, network data can be used to improve connectivity, trust and resource distribution within collaboratives and lead to a data-driven methodology for SCM.
Data-driven management could help public health departments prepare to meet evolving standards, while networked evaluation could help evaluate public health collaboratives. Recommended next steps include increasing public health departments’ capacity to collect and analyze social network data, and technical assistance for collaboratives to help them use data strategically.