Discussion week 11 | Healthcare Information Technology |


On Knowledge Management

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Over the past weeks, we have examined the environment, technologies, and functions of HIT.  This brings us to the important concept of Knowledge Management (KM).  KM systems do two primary types of things.  Some store explicit types of knowledge (e.g., lists of directions, standard operating procedures, or policies) for retrieval by those who need to know how to do certain things.  Some systems either link up experts through a network or provide sources of rich media to pass on tacit types of knowledge (e.g., a video teaching someone to play guitar).  In either case, we are really talking about two different architectures:  one stores data in a database and the other connects people through a network.  Either way, the systems really only handle data and provide information.  Knowledge only happens when the data or information leave the system and cross over to the user.

You already have experience working with KM systems.  Google is arguably the largest database of information in general.  YouTube is a very large database of rich media (videos).  And Facebook is a web-app that connects people through a network.  There are other websites/web-applications that accomplish these same things (e.g., Khan Academy, Twitter, and Bing).

KM World is a magazine, website and conference dedicated to news, trends and case studies in knowledge management, content management, and document management.  Read KM World’s overview of KM:  “What is KM? Knowledge Management Explained”, in this week’s Course Content.

Managing knowledge is an integral aspect of healthcare.  Retrieval of reference information, electronic health records, decision support systems, continuing professional education, and patient education all interact on multiple levels to support wellness and care delivery.  Think about the KM system needs of your organization, and specifically the needs of your position. 

What is KM? Knowledge Management Explained”, in this week’s Course Content.

Does your system need to handle only explicit types of knowledge? 

How would you account for the transfer of tacit knowledge?  

Will you simply store data and information or will your KM system have networking abilities as well?  

Are KM systems really that much different than Google, YouTube, or Facebook?  

Do we really even manage Knowledge or is this just a set of buzz words?  (“I know it’s true because I read it on the internet.”) 

Discuss your thoughts and your experiences in this week’s Discussion session.


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