Optimizing Knowledge Management During Crises

Optimizing Knowledge Management During Crises

Sandra Long (UnitedHealth Group, USA)
Copyright: © 2023 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-5499-2.ch005
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Abstract

Given that a crisis is unexpected, there is often chaos and a lack of preparation. This makes it challenging for healthcare professionals to protect the population's welfare and keep their patients safe. To assist with the reassurance of well-being, they require relevant knowledge as new information about the crisis is discovered. The chapter analyzes the requirements, obstacles, and optimization of knowledge management systems during a healthcare crisis. This was done by examining the successes and challenges of knowledge management systems during past crises and creating recommendations for using health informatics to improve systems. The chapter sections will provide an overview of knowledge management systems for healthcare, the creation of systems, sharing of knowledge, the timing for exchange, and barriers and solutions. The chapter will discuss systems for treating patients and informing the public on how to stay healthy and prevent further harm.
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Background

Disasters and crises happen unexpectedly and can range from weather related storms and mechanical failures to economic collapse or pandemics. Throughout history, humans have dealt poorly with the largely unexplainable, and frequently unexpected, spreads of diseases and other crises. Tales from ancient times describe death and traumatized survival but contain little useful information about how healers dealt effectively with widespread health crises. Only in the past 300 years have sciences, technologies, and practices of medical, nursing, and epidemiological public health been developed to help understand and manage pandemics rationally. Yet, individual vaccination and hygienic practices, as well as effective adherence to preventive societal behavioral norms, continue to fall short in containing the infections that plague human populations. This is largely because of deep misunderstanding and misinformation about the rapidly evolving mutations of disease (Kulikowski, 2021). It is critical to support healthcare professionals and the population in reducing the risk of human-to-human transmission, or unintended harm, in order to decrease secondary infections or unsafe conditions among patients and healthcare professionals (Lai et al., 2020). Therefore, providing knowledge to people during a crisis is imperative.

Knowledge can be defined as understanding, experience, insight, intuition, contextualized information, or know how. It is based on information, which is contextualized and condensed data, or unorganized facts and figures (Deliu, 2020). Knowledge management can be viewed as the process of identifying, capturing, storing, sharing, applying, and leveraging collective knowledge to improve performance (Archanjo de Souza et al., 2020; Giraldo et al., 2019; Wang, 2011). It can help organize and coordinate management actions, including quickly identifying knowledge owners and transferring the required knowledge to decision-makers who deal with crises when needed (Archanjo de Souza et al., 2020; Wang, 2011). Disaster management aims to reduce or avoid the potential losses from hazards, assure prompt and appropriate assistance to victims of disaster, and achieve rapid and effective recovery (Ammirato et al. 2020). Knowledge management can enhance the process of disaster management, through ensuring the availability and accessibility of accurate and reliable disaster risk information when required, through effective lesson learning (Seneviratne et al. 2010).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Knowledge Management: Handling and organization of data, information, and knowledge.

Data: The quantities, characters, and statistics; can be textual or numerical.

System: An organized framework of interconnecting parts to make up a network.

Knowledge Management System (KMS): An IT system for knowledge management.

Knowledge: The information and skills a person has based on knowledge or education, gained by familiarity or an experience; made up of data and information acquired.

Information technology (IT): Systems, usually digital in nature, for storing and retrieving information.

Information: Facts about something or someone.

Privacy: Personal information, both identifiable and health related, is kept secure and only shared with those the patient provides permission to view and use.

Safety: Preventing harm to patients, and removing risk of injury or illness.

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