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Table 3 Benefits of knowing the other TNO members and of being able to appraise their expertise

From: Social capital in a regional inter-hospital network among trauma centers (trauma network): results of a qualitative study in Germany

  Benefit Sample quote
1 Finding one’s bearings in the regional trauma care, especially valuable for newly appointed medical directors - I came ‘from the outside’, and I used to have few contacts only [in the region], didn’t know anybody in the [surgical] associations or panels of the region… And owing to the trauma network, our regular meetings, I got to know [the others] personally, and then you can catch up in other contexts. (IP 07 r)
2 Making interactions easier and smoother, especially by knowing exactly whom to address in cases of questions and patient transfer - You gain more assurance when handling problematic cases, by not … having to think: ‘O, I have to phone with the big university. Who knows whom I get on the line there?’… Instead, you know the people, who are your contact persons there. … This is a priceless advantage. (IP 04 r)
3 Being more confident and feeling safer when transferring patients to other hospitals - It’s good when you know, through the trauma network meetings: Okay, those guys can do it, I can’t, so I can hand the case over to them. And you don’t just send your patients someplace, but you know they’re in good hands. (IP 13 l)
4 Increasing credibility among patients by being able to consult other trauma experts - We like to seek a second opinion (…) We are just a small rural hospital … And then you may have the critical patient and (…) a trauma that you don’t treat so often (…) (Then) it makes … a reasonable, a favorable impression that we don’t [say]: ‚Hurray, we know how to do everything!’ but: ‘Ok, we seek some advice.’ (IP 13 l)
- There’s always those things where patients … say: ‘Doesn’t that have to be handled in a big center?’, and when you say: ‘We have sent your x-rays to this and that hospital, and the uni recommends [to treat you that way], and that’s exactly the way we would have done it, too’, − this is an incredible reassurance for the patients. (IP 07 r)