How a Healthcare Organization Can Benefit From Good Knowledge Management

By Harrison Clover   |   February 14, 2018
How a Healthcare Organization Can Benefit From Good Knowledge Management
Healthcare is a broad topic that could prompt endless conversations. However, here we would like to discuss one very crucial aspects of healthcare: implementing a good knowledge management (KM) system to reap immense benefits. In the United States alone, there are approximately 5,700 registered hospitals with a total of nearly 12.5 million employees.

According to The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, there were approximately 36.5 million hospital stays in the U.S. in 2012 (the latest year for which data is publicly available). Each of these hospital stays was an average of 4.5 days in length for a cost of $10,400. When a patient’s health is on the line, healthcare providers need a knowledge management solution that shares information expeditiously. And here are the 3 reasons why you should consider a Knowledge Management in your Healthcare organization.

1. Transform information overload into empowered decision making. Healthcare providers currently face the paradox that other industries face in the era of big data and technology: they are overwhelmed with massive amounts of data, but struggle to find the data they need. Too many times, they need that data instantly for patient care. The massive quantity of information can save lives if healthcare providers have access to it in usable formats. Doctors base their decisions on experience, education, training and personal knowledge, in addition to the patient’s information displayed on a clipboard or screen. With physicians seeing up to 40 patients per day, they need efficient access to quality knowledge to ensure the best decisions and outcomes. A meticulously organized system will allow a doctor to search for a set of symptoms and provide a highly educated response about procedures, prescriptions, and more.

2. Healthcare providers have no room for errors. As the medical industry consolidates and reduces staffing ratios, the potential for medical malpractice rises. What happens when a highly respected physician or other provider leaves? They take all their knowledge with them. With a robust knowledge management solution, that knowledge stays and remains accessible to continuously improve patient care. With powerful mobile apps and search functions, physicians, nurses and technicians have near instant access to the most effective procedures.

3. Collaboration increases while protecting patient privacy. Medical records are almost universally collected, stored, updated and transferred electronically, and this has many benefits. The records may be searched and shared among care teams, and it is much more secure than folders that may get misfiled. The cost of keeping hard copy records is minimized. Even so, the transition to electronic records presents some risks to patient privacy, and doctor/patient confidentiality. How can doctors then collaborate? A knowledge management system tailored to healthcare will have levels of privacy walls that allows physicians to share information while maintaining anonymity for the patients. Thus, the knowledge management solution becomes a wealth of relevant knowledge, a highly effective collaboration mechanism and a compliance tool.

Every organization should maintain a searchable body of knowledge that standardizes procedures and increases collaboration. But, in the healthcare industry where patient lives are at stake, a knowledge management solution is imperative.