What Knowledge Management Strategies Should a Successful Healthcare Organization Implement

By Monica Kohn   |   February 28, 2018
What Knowledge Management Strategies Should a Successful Healthcare Organization Implement

Healthcare management faces many challenges to remain competitive. You must compete for high quality healthcare providers, specialize for optimum growth, improve patient care and outcomes; manage Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance, and prepare for the future. To do all these, you will need to focus on the fundamental organizational drivers of knowledge management (KM) and collect data through interviews or workshops.

For instance, it may mean that your IT team does not lead the development of a KM strategy, although they are a critical stakeholder and team participant. It also means that you will have many stakeholders: patients, physicians, administrators, governing agencies, suppliers, and more.

Following are the 4 key focal points a healthcare organization should consider when mapping out a superlative KM strategy.

1. Operational Excellence

Operational excellence focus on processes improvement in the organization and internal practices so that it operates better, cheaper, faster, safer, and/or cleaner. Healthcare has particular needs in these areas, since improving patient outcomes is the primary focus. This means that cheaper and faster is not always better. Knowledge is critical in operational processes, and your strategy will work to ensure the processes are the best they can be within the entire organization. The knowledge management strategy will include: process innovation, development and deployment of business practices – that continually improve -, and standardization.

2. Customer Focus

The customer-focused strategy aims to improve the dissemination of knowledge to the customer, both internal and external. At the end of the day the main beneficiaries are your customers. The critical knowledge is about the patients themselves and the knowledge and expertise necessary for optimal patient outcomes. Thus, your knowledge management strategy will likely include knowledge sharing among physicians and thought leaders, for example.

3. Growth and Change

The growth and change strategy means replicating current successes with new staff or in new markets. It is crucial to identify successful practices and lessons learned in order to duplicate that success while mitigating the prior mistakes. New employees need efficient integration and effective training and knowledge transfer in order to become valuable team members as quickly as possible. Healthcare organizations must always consider changing markets and conditions for a successful KM strategy.

4. Innovation

The innovation-focused knowledge management strategy aims to create new knowledge that improves outcomes. This strategy may be more relevant to research and development or IT, although innovation comes from many segments of the healthcare industry. Innovation can occur within the doctor/patient relationship. This strategy will use knowledge-creation activities such as think tanks, business-driven action learning, and deep dives. If your business is in bio-tech, high-tech, or the pharmaceutical segments, the innovation focus will likely be the cornerstone of your strategy.

 

Which of these four will be your company’s focus? In reality, most segments in the healthcare industry should include elements from all four areas. You need to improve operations, develop customer knowledge, and focus on innovation while addressing the continually evolving landscape in healthcare. Your KM strategy should have a primary focus depending on your particular role within the industry with secondary roles for the other focus areas.