Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the role of physicians' professional networks in decision-making processes. Methods: A professional network was examined in three stages: content analysis and categorization of discussions concerning decision-making processes, in-depth interviews, and a questionnaire. Results: The RAMBAM network has professional as well as social roles. On a professional level, physicians seek approval of their initial line of reasoning regarding their clinical cases, but will consider other approaches if such are suggested by persons of professional repute or if answers are based on evidence-based medicine and include referral to a relevant source. On a social level, physicians want to be part of their professional community and share information and experiences. Conclusion: Physicians' professional networks have a social role that is expressed by a feeling of belonging to a community, as well as a professional role of capturing and disseminating medical knowledge during physicians' decision-making processes. Professional networks constitute a unique source of tacit knowledge that extends existing formal knowledge resources. Practice implications: The study can increase physicians' awareness of professional networks as a unique source of tacit knowledge and can assist in the future design of medical professional networks as knowledge resources for medical decision making.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was performed with a research grant from the Israel Association of Family Physicians .
- Clinical decision making
- Community of practice
- Knowledge management
- Physician professional network
- Tacit knowledge
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (all)