The Role for Knowledge Management in Modern Healthcare Delivery

The Role for Knowledge Management in Modern Healthcare Delivery

Nilmini Wickramasinghe (RMIT University, Australia)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/jhdri.2010040101
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As medical science advances and the applications of information and communications technologies (ICTs) to healthcare operations diffuse more data, information begins to permeate healthcare databases and repositories. However, given the voluminous nature of these disparate data assets, it is no longer possible for healthcare providers to process these data without the aid of sophisticated tools and technologies. The goal of knowledge management is to provide the decision maker with appropriate tools, technologies, strategies and processes to turn data and information into valuable knowledge assets. This paper discusses the benefits of incorporating these tools and techniques to the healthcare arena in order to make healthcare delivery more effective and efficient. To ensure a successful knowledge management initiative in a healthcare setting, the paper proffers the knowledge management infrastructure (KMI) framework and intelligence continuum (IC) model. The benefits of these techniques lie not only in the ability of making explicit the elements of these knowledge assets, and in so doing enable their full potential to be realized, but also to provide a systematic and robust approach to structuring the conceptualization of knowledge assets.
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2. Knowledge Management

“Land, labor, and capital now pale in comparison to knowledge as the critical asset to be managed in today’s knowledge economy.” Peter F. Drucker (1999, p. 47)

The nations that lead the world into the next century will be those who can shift from being industrial economies, based upon the production of manufactured goods, to those that possess the capacity to produce and utilize knowledge successfully. The focus of the many nations’ economy has shifted first to information-intensive industries such as financial services and logistics, and now toward innovation-driven industries, such as computer software and biotechnology, where competitive advantage lies mostly in the innovative use of human resources. This represents a move from an era of standardization to an era of innovation where knowledge, its creation and management hold the key to success (Bukowitz & Williams, 1997; Drucker, 1993, 1999).

Knowledge management is a key approach to help solve current business problems such as competitiveness and the need to innovate that are faced by organizations today. The premise for knowledge management is based on a paradigm shift in the business environment where knowledge is central to organizational performance (Swan et al., 1999; Newell et al., 2002). In essence, knowledge management not only involves the production of information but also the capture of data at the source, the transmission and analysis of this data as well as the communication of information based on or derived from the data to those who can act on it (Davenport & Prusak, 1998). Thus, data and information represent critical raw assets in the generation of knowledge while successful knowledge management initiatives require a tripartite view; namely the incorporation of people, processes and technologies (Wickramasinghe, 2003).

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