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Sustainable Network Advantages: A Game Theoretic Approach to Community-Based Health Care Coalitions

Ford, Eric W.; Wells, Rebecca; Bailey, Barbara

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Abstract: Health care organizations often enter into a cooperative arrangement to create safety-net programs and coordinate care. Maintaining effective cooperation in such alliances poses special problems that can be examined using network analysis and explained in game theory terms. A mental health coalition case study is presented using network analysis and game theory interpretations. Had a positive-sum game approach been applied to the coalition's initial design, its subsequent suboptimal performance might have been averted. The application of network analysis plus a game theoretic paradigm has significant implications for improving both the design and the coordination of such coalitions.

Eric W. Ford, PhD, MPH, Pennsylvania State University, University Park. E-mail: eford@psu.edu

Rebecca Wells, PhD, MHSA, Pennsylvania State University, University Park. E-mail: rsw8@psu.edu

Barbara Bailey, PhD, is Chief, Policy Assistance and Development Branch, Division of Community and Migrant Health, Bureau of Primary Health Care, Health Resources and Services Administration, Rockville, MD. E-mail: Bbailey@hrsa.gov

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.