We're all drowning in grant fatigue - Regional Health Information Technology Extension Centers, Health Information Exchange, Beacon Communities, and SHARP. Putting together these grant applications has required a kind of social networking - linking together people, ideas, and expertise. I've used data to pick the right collaborators.
My Harvard Medical School CTO, Griffin Weber, is an expert in connectedness of ideas.
Harvard does not own its hospitals. It's faculty work at numerous independent non-profit academic health centers in the Greater Boston area.
There are many ways to quantify connectedness. This graphic lists the number of publications that were co-authored by faculty at different Harvad affiliated institutions. For example, there are 663 publications in Profiles where one author is from HMS and the other from Brigham and Women's. There are 1125 publications in Profiles where one author is from Beth Israel Deaconess and the other from Massachusetts General.
Another way to analyze connectedness is promixity. Here's a Google Map of Boston showing the office locations of 20,000 HMS faculty, color coded by hospital affiliation.
Here's an affiliate map (Boston version) with lines connecting co-authorship on papers. The lines go to the institutions, not the office of the investigator. The thickness of the lines are proportional to the number of publications.
Note that all this is just for Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Dental Medicine and the Harvard School of Public Health faculty, which are included in Profiles. Similar data exists that can be used to show how Harvard faculty connect with others around the world.
In the world of Healthcare Information Technology, I'm convinced there is one degree of separation between all my fellow colleagues!