What can family medicine practices do to facilitate knowledge management?

Research Division, Department of Family Medicine, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Somerset, USA.
Health care management review (Impact Factor: 1.3). 07/2008; 33(3):216-24. DOI: 10.1097/
Source: PubMed


Family medicine practices face increasing demands to enhance efficiency and quality of care. Current solutions propose major practice redesign and investment in sophisticated technology. Knowledge management (KM) is a process that increases the capacity of a practice to deliver effective care by finding and sharing information and knowledge among practice members or by developing new knowledge for use by the practice. Our preliminary research in family medicine practices has suggested improved patient outcomes with greater and more effective KM. Research in other organizational settings has suggested that KM can be facilitated by certain organizational characteristics.
To identify those organizational characteristics within a family medicine practice that management can effect to enhance KM.
We performed a cross-sectional secondary analysis of second-year data from 13 community family medicine practices participating in a practice improvement project. Practice KM, leaderships' promotion of participatory decision making, existence of activities supportive of human resource processes, and effective communication were derived from clinician's, nurses', and staff's responses to a survey eliciting responses on practice organizational characteristics. Hierarchical linear modeling examined relationships between individual practice members' perception of KM and organizational characteristics of the practice, controlling for practice covariates (solo-group, electronic medical record use, and perception of a chaotic practice environment) and staff-level covariates (gender, age, and role).
Practices with greater participatory decision making and human resources' processes and effective communication significantly (p < .019, p < .0001, and p < .004) increased odds of reporting satisfactory KM (odds ratio = 2.48, 95% confidence interval = 1.32-4.65; odds ratio = 10.84, 95% confidence interval = 4.04-29.12; and odds ratio = 4.95, 95% confidence interval = 2.02-12.16). The sizes of these effects were not substantially changed even when practice members perceived their practice environment as more chaotic.
Steps to facilitate KM should be considered when evaluating more intensive and costly organizational solutions for enhancing family medicine practice performance.

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    • "" Evidently, developing knowledge relies on social tools. Articulating tacit knowledge to explicit manifests through collective reflection (Orzano et al., 2008A), 'huddles' or brief team meetings (Orzano et al., 2008B) and dialogical exchange (Quinlan, 2009). Still, eHealth technologies, like decision support systems, active directories and portals, facilitate dynamic interaction among clinical practitioners. "
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    ABSTRACT: Knowledge is an intangible asset in Organizations, and provides a comparative advantage to those who possess it. Hospitals are complex organizations with unique characteristics because of the heterogeneity of health professionals' orientation, the composite networking and the decision-making processes. A deeper understanding of knowledge management (KM) could streamline productivity and coordinate the use of resources more efficient. We conducted a systematic literature search of peer-reviewed papers that described key elements of KM using three databases (Medline, Cinahl and Health Source: nursing/academic edition) for a 10-year period (1/1/2004-25/11/2014). The included articles were subjected to qualitative content analysis. We retrieved 604 articles of which 20 articles were eligible for analysis. Most of the studies (n=13) used a qualitative methodology. The total sample size was 2155 participants. The key elements that arose were as follows: perceptions of KM, synthesis, dissemination, collaboration, means of KM and leadership. Moreover, this study identified barriers for KM implementation, like time restrictions and limited skills. Healthcare managers ought to cultivate a knowledge environment, operate as role models, provide the tools for KM and reward people who act as knowledge brokers. Opportunities for collaboration and knowledge sharing should be encouraged. Successful KM should be patient-centered to gain its maximum value. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    International Journal of Health Planning and Management 07/2015; DOI:10.1002/hpm.2303 · 0.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Central to the "medical home" concept is the premise that the delivery of effective primary care requires a fundamental shift in relationships among practice members and between practice members and patients. Primary care practices can potentially increase their capacity to deliver effective care through knowledge management (KM), a process of sharing and making existing knowledge available or by developing new knowledge among practice members and patients. KM affects performance by influencing work relationships to enhance learning, decision making, and task execution. We extend our previous work to further characterize, describe, and contrast how primary care practices exhibit KM and explain why KM deserves attention in medical home redesign initiatives. Case studies were conducted, drawn from two higher and lower performing practices, which were purposely selected based on disease management, prevention, and productivity measures from an improvement trial. Observations of operations, clinical encounters, meetings, and interviews with office members and patients were transcribed and coded independently using a KM template developed from a previous secondary analysis. Face-to-face discussions resolved coding differences among research team members. Confirmation of findings was sought from practice participants. Practices manifested varying degrees of KM effectiveness through six interdependent processes and multiple overlapping tools. Social tools, such as face-to-face-communication for sharing and developing knowledge, were often more effective than were expensive technical tools such as an electronic medical record. Tool use was tailored for specific outcomes, interacted with each other, and leveraged by other organizational capacities. Practices with effective KM were more open to adopting and sustaining new ways of functioning, ways reflecting attributes of a medical home. Knowledge management differences occur within and between practices and can explain differences in performance. By relying more on social tools rather than costly, high-tech investment, KM leverages primary care's relationship-centered strength, facilitating practice redesign as a medical home.
    Health care management review 06/2009; 34(3):224-33. DOI:10.1097/HMR.0b013e31819c42fc · 1.30 Impact Factor
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