People with traumatic brain injury often have complex problems that require multifaceted solutions. Networks, which consist of individuals, teams, and organizations that are linked together, are frequently touted as a method for addressing the difficulties these patients face in accessing resources. Networks do show promise in improving continuity of care, but some specific issues should be addressed before there is widespread implementation. To be effective, networks need to be adaptable and to have capacity.
First, expectations need to be in line with the size and scope of the network. A small committee that meets sporadically cannot handle the same tasks as a comprehensive group that meets regularly. Second, you get what you pay for. While networks may be a cost-effective way of improving services, they require economic and human resources to function. Lack of investment in design, implementation, and maintenance can be a significant problem.
Third, networks need support from stakeholders. Without buy-in from all involved, networks lack legitimacy. Finally, there must be genuine collaboration. A common language and vision must be established and maintained in order for a traumatic brain injury network to be effective.
Lamontagne, ME, Swaine, BR, Lavoie, A, and Careau, E. Analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the network form of organization of traumatic brain injury service and delivery systems. Brain Injury. (November 2011).