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Health Sector Knowledge Management - Document360

The benefits of a health sector knowledge management

The benefits of a health sector knowledge management

Roughly 67 million people live in the UK and all of them will be involved in the health sector at some point in their lives. Knowledge management and self-service are key components of this sector and depend on having a robust knowledge base.

Treating an individual patient is dependent on accessing a huge amount of knowledge and expertise, and healthcare providers must not only share clinical knowledge but also standard operating procedures. Information is constantly changing as the medical field evolves, with new research published and as new treatments become available.

A healthcare knowledge base can facilitate better communication between providers and staff, leading to more efficiency and better productivity.

Doctors and medical workers are overloaded

The paradox is that healthcare professionals are overwhelmed with information, but they struggle to find the information they need. Balance this against the fact that finding the right information at the right time can quite literally save lives.

Imagine you are a doctor and you can see dozens of patients a day. Doctors base their decisions on personal knowledge and the limited patient data in front of them.

There’s no time in a patient’s appointment to track down another doctor, who are probably all busy with their own patients. In a scenario where a patient comes to their doctor with symptoms that are perplexing, the doctor makes an educated guess as to what may be wrong and writes a treatment plan for the patient.

It would be much better if the doctor not only had his or her own knowledge to help the patient, but access to the knowledge of every other medical professional in the hospital. When it comes to the patient who is presenting a perplexing set of symptoms, it’s likely that another doctor has seen this before and can advise on next steps.

This is where healthcare knowledge management comes in. Doctors can use it to search for symptoms and other valuable data that will make a huge difference to outcomes for their patients. 

Avoiding mistakes with knowledge management

Medical malpractice is a real concern in this sector, and take into account staff members leaving and taking crucial information with them. When the right information isn’t available, this leads to a higher incidence of mistakes, which are costly.

The repercussions for mistakes are higher in the healthcare sector when compared with other industries. In a standard professional setting, an employee who makes a mistake will be reprimanded and may be terminated if it’s a pattern of behaviour. In contrast, mistakes could have tragic consequences or lead to an expensive lawsuit.

That’s why healthcare knowledge bases are the answer to standardising all procedures and provides access to training on the procedures.If someone with specialist knowledge leaves the organisation, there is still a way to access that information and minimises the margin for error.

Leads to digital transformation 

Healthcare organisations have already made the transition from paper record keeping to electronic medical records. The change doesn’t stop there with the adoption of digital systems that lead to improved patient care, and better efficiency and productivity.

Even with the right technologies, change can be slow. Healthcare workers can be against change, when traditional processes have worked for them for a long time. When transitioning to a new digital tool, the tool must be easy to use and fit in with existing workflows. Only then will a digital system be successful and properly implemented.

A healthcare knowledge base is a crucial part of healthcare organisations meeting their digital innovation goals and it doesn’t have to be a painful process. Healthcare workers can collaborate more efficiently, leading to enhanced patient outcomes. The solution should offer robust search, and integrate with other apps, in order to fit into the provider’s existing workflows. 

Promotes collaboration between healthcare workers

Instead of using paper files that are easily lost or damaged, patient medical records are now stored almost universally in an electronic format. It’s easy for doctors to search for files, make updates, and share records. It’s much more efficient, and protects patient/doctor confidentiality.

Unfortunately, some professionals still have concerns about the new digital trend, presenting a threat to patient privacy, the doctor/patient relationship, and doctor/patient confidentiality.

A knowledge base is a secure way to share information about patients while honouring patients’ privacy. Medical professionals can collaborate on sharing symptoms, treatments, and other information while keeping individual patient records confidential. Life-saving knowledge is available for doctors while keeping the needs of patients at the forefront.

Fosters an environment of continuous learning

The healthcare field is constantly changing, with new research being published, new drugs being made available, and studies being conducted. Doctors can’t learn everything they would be expected to know in university, and they must continuously learn in order to provide the most effective and up-to-date patient care.
Healthcare organisations can promote a culture of knowledge sharing by providing a knowledge base for their teams. It’s the ideal platform for medical professionals to share what they have learned in the spirit of continuous learning, so the whole organisation can benefit from new research and industry developments. 

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Implementing a new knowledge base

1. Evaluate your needs and pain points

A plan is required before embarking on the journey of adopting a new knowledge base. Just like you wouldn’t set out on a journey without a roadmap, healthcare organisations should decide on key problems and opportunities that are driving the need for new technology. Decide how to define ‘value’ in your organisation. Ideally, a new digital solution is going to cut costs for the team and drive benefits for users, outweighing the initial investment in technology. 

2. Assemble a team of diverse stakeholders and experiences

A new technology is going to affect everyone. An interdisciplinary team can come together and troubleshoot ideas before the project is presented to the executive leadership level. Especially as mergers and acquisitions continue to affect the healthcare space, a diverse stakeholder team can ensure that digital transformation efforts are rolled out the same way across newly combined systems. 

3. Balance your objectives for success

When choosing your new knowledge base, you should evaluate your objectives. These objectives should be people, process, and technology. You must identify individuals who are responsible for delivering and receiving services, address security and usability, and adopt new tools to improve service delivery for patients and staff. This three-pronged approach can work for projects of any size.

4. Prepare yourself for roadblocks

Change takes time and there will inevitably be problems in the way. Transitioning from legacy systems is not easy and people are often resistant to change. Don’t forget to focus on the small wins and their role in bringing about the larger end goal.

Final remarks

The healthcare sector is a complex and constantly changing area, with digital transformation efforts key to continuing to improve patient care. A healthcare knowledge base presents lots of opportunities to share knowledge internally and foster an environment of continuous learning for medical staff. It’s easier to collaborate when you have a knowledge management system in place that can be updated easily and is optimised for search. When knowledge is shared, mistakes are less likely and the highest standards can be upheld more easily.

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