Objective: New theoretical and practical approaches were used to determine the outcome of complex interorganizational networks during the 2009 H1N1 outbreak in Australia.
Methods: Seventy health professionals from different skill sets and organizational positions who participated in the 2009 swine influenza H1N1 outbreak in Australia were surveyed. Interviews were designed to collect both qualitative and quantitative data to build a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of the dynamics of interorganizational networks that evolve during the coordinated response to the H1N1 outbreak. Three main components of network theory, ie, degree centrality, connectedness, and tie strength, were used to construct a performance model for assessing networks of preparedness and response.
Results: We observed that increasing communication frequency and diversifying the tiers of the interorganizational links enhanced the overall network's performance in the case of formal coordination. Network measures such as centrality, connectedness, and tie strength were relevant and resulted in improving the entire network's performance during the outbreak.
Conclusion: In the context of a disease outbreak in a complex environment and a large geographical area, this investigation has provided a new perspective for understanding how the structure of a collaborative network of personnel affects the performance of the overall network.