Introduction: This article aims to confirm the following core hypothesis: a Community of Practice's use of a Web 2.0 platform for communication between primary and hospital care leads to improved primary care and fewer hospital referrals. This core hypothesis will be corroborated by testing a further five partial hypotheses that complete the main hypothesis being estimated. Methods: An ad-hoc questionnaire was designed and sent to a sample group of 357 professionals from the Badalona-Sant Adria de Besos Primary Care Service in Catalonia, Spain, which includes nine primary care centres and three specialist care centres. The study sample was formed by 159 respondents. The partial least squares methodology was used to estimate the model of the causal relationship and the proposed hypotheses. Results: It was found that when healthcare staff used social networks and information and communication technologies professionally, and the more contact hours they have with patients, the more a Web 2.0 platform was likely to be used for communication between primary and hospital care professionals. Such use led to improved primary care and fewer hospital referrals according to the opinions of health professionals on its use. Conclusions: The research suggests that the efficiency of medical practice is explained by the intensity of Web 2.0 platform use for communication between primary and specialist care professionals. Public policies promoting the use of information and communication technologies in communities of practice should go beyond the technological dimension and consider other professional, organisational and social determinants.
Diaz, A., Torrent, J., Lacasta, D., & Saigi, F. (2014). Improving integrated care: modelling the performance of an online community of practice. International Journal of Integrated Care, 14.