How to Use Knowledge Management Systems in the Healthcare Industry

By Monica Kohn   |   November 21, 2019
Knowledge Management Systems in the Healthcare Industry
Knowledge management systems align people, technologies, and data to optimize expertise, experience, and collaboration in order to drive performance and growth. KMS is an essential tool in today’s evolving healthcare industry. GE Healthcare’s Burg Hughes, Senior Manager, Call Center Operations, and Lynn Westbrook, CSC Process Specialist accepted the award.

The Need for Health Knowledge Management

There are over 6,200 registered hospitals in the U.S. which employ nearly 12.5 million people. Each of these employees is hired, trained, and retrained when they either begin new jobs or transfer to another department, clinic, or hospital. Treatments and procedures evolve. Healthcare professionals need continuing education throughout their careers to ensure they are delivering the utmost in patient care.

Knowledge management in the healthcare industry is a necessity, not an option. There are other important benefits to knowledge management in healthcare. Adopting a knowledge management platform can help your organization provide the best possible care and patient experience to the people it serves.

The Changing Healthcare Landscape

Healthcare is a knowledge-driven industry where quick decision-making and problem-solving skills depend on specialized, proven science and know-how. Today’s rapidly evolving environment makes it essential for healthcare organizations to:

  • Achieve operational efficiency and excellence
  • Effectively manage internal and external knowledge
  • Foster innovation
  • Provide the best possible treatments

An effective strategy for a knowledge management system in healthcare can help you achieve these goals.

Benefits of Knowledge Management in Healthcare Organizations

There are many ways to integrate a healthcare knowledge management platform into your organization. But we believe these three are key to using a KMS effectively:

1. Make more accurate clinical and medical decisions – Medical misdiagnoses and mistakes are one of the leading causes of death in the U.S., accounting for as many as 251,000 annually. These fatal errors are devastating to professionals and patient families. They can result in millions of dollars in associated costs from things like malpractice lawsuits and settlements as well as higher liability insurance premiums. Every dollar lost this way makes it more difficult to improve patient care and other initiatives.

A well-organized healthcare KMS allows medical professionals to easily search for and identify symptoms, procedures, and other valuable information. This can help them make accurate diagnoses and prescribe the proper treatment.

2. Harness the power of collaboration – When medical professionals have access to each other’s experiences, they are better able to learn. Collaboration takes advantage of someone else’s expertise through documentation and sharing symptoms, treatments, and outcomes. Gathering this information and knowledge can be overwhelming because massive amounts of patient and provider data are collected every day.

The right healthcare KMS facilitates the capture and distribution of relevant and valuable knowledge from all stakeholders involved in patient care. Best practices can then be developed and implemented. Your organization avoids reinventing solutions already available by reusing stored knowledge.

3. Stimulate innovation – Modern healthcare providers face extraordinary challenges when trying to improve patient care quality, increase efficiency, eliminate waste, and reduce costs. These and other forces drive the need for innovations in healthcare to improve diagnostic and therapeutic options and outcomes.

Whether it’s non-disruptive innovation that improves an existing process or a disruptive one that upends old systems; data collection, organization, and dissemination are vital to designing state-of-the-art healthcare products and services that meet patient needs.

Conclusion

Tom Davenport, one of the key early figures in the knowledge management field, once said, “If we can’t turn data into better decision-making through quantitative analysis, we are wasting data and probably creating suboptimal performance.” To successfully exploit healthcare data, it is crucial providers incorporate knowledge management strategies, processes, and success factors into their existing system.

All healthcare organizations have the ability to create an environment where highly specialized employee knowledge and skills are leveraged to achieve advancements in the care they provide. All it takes is finding a way to bring together the collective expertise of policymakers, researchers, and healthcare providers in a way that allows everyone to benefit from such knowledge. A healthcare KMS provides the solution you’re looking for.