Italian NHS Regional systems shifted from competitive to collaborative logics. This has fostered the search for system wide coordination mechanisms, such us inter-institutional networks. They are often treated as black boxes, with broad and universal scopes. The paper suggests a framework to classify alternative networks’ functions and scopes and related organizational tools. The framework is then used to analyze the emergent inter-institutional networks in the Lombardy regional health care system. There is a matrix of networks at work: "pathology" networks, based on research, knowledge management and task allocation between clinical nodes; "chronic care" networks based on patient access support and case management. There are different kinds of networks at work, with specific tasks, related organizational logics and operational tools.
Keywords: Inter-organizational networks, professional networks, network strategy, network management tools.