Time to care: Using sensor technology to describe social interactions in healthcare

description project

In the healthcare sector, employees are in constant contact with colleagues and clients. Such interactions vary continually—depending on factors such as work schedule, sudden emergencies, and the need to share information—creating constantly changing social interaction networks. However, up until recently,

most social and organizational research has treated individual and team-level behaviors as static phenomena. Using sensor technology, we aim to capture the dynamics of social interaction patterns. We will combine Wi-Fi sensors with Sociometric Badges to combine proximity and speech features and analyze the change of social network features (such as positions of persons within a network).

Expected outcomes

With our research we intend to find out how social interactions in a healthcare setting change over time and how this relates to (team)effectiveness. More technically, we hope to answer questions like: “Can we identify and model recurrent patterns of network dynamics?”, and “To what extend do social network structures and their dynamics predict team performance?”. Concretely, the impact of our research will be threefold. First, we will try to be among the pioneering researchers in temporal research that relates dynamic social interaction factors to team outcomes. Second, the dynamic measures might provide objective feedback that may help create more effective healthcare teams. Last but not least, the project will result in more expertise on using sensor technology to measure social interaction patterns.


Stijn de Laat, MSc.
Dr. Maaike D. Endedijk
Dr. Elze G. Ufkes  -  Department PCRS
Prof. dr. Reinout de Vries
Dr. Maurice van Keulen  -  Faculty of EWI

Contact person

Name contact person

Duration of the project

PhD project ending in February 2020

Funding and partners

The project is funded through Tech4People and we collaborate with the faculty of Psychology of Conflict, Risk and Safety (PCRS) and the faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EWI). Furthermore, we collaborate closely with bureau HHM ( ), a research- and consultancy bureau for healthcare institutions.

project website

Not applicable

Publications related to this project

  • Endedijk, M. D., Ufkes, E. G., & de Laat, S. (2015). Studying work as it is: Using sensor technology to describe the temporal and spatial nature of interactions at work. Paper presented at the Studying work as it is: Capturing dynamics in workplace relationships, Brussels, Belgium.


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