How Knowledge Management Plays a Life-Saving Role in the Coronavirus Epidemic

By Monica Kohn   |   March 15, 2020
Knowledge management technologies deliver accurate, real-time information and prevent future infections in this healthcare crisis

Knowledge management technologies deliver accurate, real-time information and prevent future infections in this healthcare crisis

Digital knowledge management solutions ensure that the right people have the right information at the right time. Never is this more important than during the outbreak of an epidemic when people’s lives are at stake. At the time of this writing on March 10, the World Health Organization reports 113,702 confirmed cases and 4,012 deaths. Aside from the lives affected, the global economy will likely suffer some $1 trillion in 2020 due to the coronavirus epidemic, according to the UN Trade and Development Agency.

Healthcare Knowledge When Lives Are At Risk

Using a knowledge management base, healthcare employees can work remotely (removing themselves from potential exposure to any illness,) and deliver an excellent patient care experience. For instance, template articles and decision trees support a health knowledge worker to respond quickly and effortlessly to patient needs. A doctor working on-site can share and distribute new knowledge acquired during fieldwork, and at the same time, he can access decision flows and scripted scenarios to know what to do and how to handle certain cases as they arise. On mobile devices, all of these knowledge functions are conveniently accessible.

Knowledge-Sharing to Stop the Coronavirus in its Tracks

The World Health Organization maintains up-to-date knowledge and shares key findings across governments, health organizations, and the public to spread awareness about symptoms, treatment, and precautions that potentially prevent further outbreak. With cutting-edge, digital knowledge-sharing capabilities, the general public, as well as healthcare practitioners and governing bodies, can easily find information digitally on a knowledge base and understand how to prepare and what to do.

 

Knowledge Management for Health Emergency Response

With the convergence of mobile computing, mobile communications, broadband internet, and digitization, more thorough data collection and improved forecasting are possible. Knowledge management tools facilitate communication and collaboration among public health agencies, clinicians, and stakeholders. But while digitization and connectivity are beneficial, they still do not guarantee better health outcomes.

“Since I returned from abroad, the Ministry of Health has ordered all travelers to stay at home for 14 days. So I am home, trying to use this time for things that I never seem to find time for during normal work weeks. It is a great opportunity to fuel inspiration for different projects and make the most of it with a big smile. These two weeks will pass quickly, and I will have gained a lot during this period,” said Sagi Eliyahu, CEO of KMS Lighthouse.

How Has Knowledge Management Played an Important Role in Prior Outbreaks?

  • During the Ebola outbreak of West Africa in 2013, knowledge management technology was used in sending SMS or text messages and provided remote health training and telemedicine when people were evacuated or quarantined.
  • In the SARS outbreak of 2003, a team of scientists and researchers in British Columbia established the SARS Accelerated Vaccine Initiative for sharing knowledge and collaborating online as a way to accelerate the vaccine discovery process.

Who Uses Knowledge Management in Healthcare?

A knowledge base manages best practices of diagnosis and treatment and rapidly shares new findings. Real-time knowledge-sharing provides a clear picture of the outbreak and its impact. The main bodies that we rely on for such health information are the CDC, USAID, and Department of Defense.

Then there are international news media, medical journals, which publish up-to-date pertinent information, and healthcare professionals around the world who are educating us – all via some form of technology. All of these outlets and streams of information would not be able to communicate and share life-saving information without technology.

Benefits of Knowledge Management in Healthcare

Health organizations and professionals employ the use of technology to educate, warn and empower people with accurate information. While technology cannot prevent disease, it can be used to spread awareness quickly. Improved connectivity around the world allows for easier, faster dissemination of precise information to educate people and prevent further infections.

It’s also possible to add knowledge portals (kiosks or via mobile) to healthcare facilities like hospitals, for example, to handle certain procedures and speed up treatments through knowledge-based, guided workflows.

The Difference Between Knowledge Management and Information Management

Healthcare knowledge management starts with information and becomes applied and organized in a centrally accessible location. Unlike information management, knowledge management focuses on sharing expertise that typically resides in people’s heads. The difference between knowledge management and information management is that information management is more limited whereas knowledge management is broader, in regards to how information is found and understood based on sharing expertise, creating a company culture and process that builds on what, how, why, and who of information.

Future Prevention of Coronavirus Epidemic

Knowledge-sharing is focused on prevention since, at the moment, there is no current cure or another way to address this disease. The CDC and DOD have issued guidelines on prevention.

The world truly needs better knowledge management as a basis for its global warning and response system for outbreaks such as coronavirus. In the future, there can be more crucial situations such as bioterrorism attacks. Knowledge management or the ability to share the most accurate, up-to-date global knowledge on health information saves lives. During this unprecedented epidemic, find out how your business can take advantage of knowledge management.