KM in Healthcare – Focus for 2013

Since November 2012, I have been expanding my KM efforts in healthcare, and this blog will show that change in emphasis.

In 2011/2012, I was focused on KM in the electronic commodity aftermarket repair industry, and while this really was a very productive time and allowed me to develop some tools and methods, I felt that the healthcare industry was a one that was undergoing a revolution, and that there was a significant part for KM to play.

Of course much of the KM applied in the electronics repair arena can be transported to healthcare, for example, the activity-based knowledge audit process (Loxton, 2013) published in the JKMR&P can be seamlessly adapted to the healthcare field.

Since November I have visited hospitals, interviewed a wide range of people in both clinical and administrative parts of hospitals, and I have been wading through a huge pile of information on a variety of technologies and areas in healthcare.

In addition to touring and talking and reading, for good measure I also made use of courses available through the Coursera MOOC.
Health Informatics in the Cloud” by Dr. Mark Braunstein of Georgia Tech in particular has been very helpful, but there really is an amazing amount of free and high quality materials online these days.

Healthcare is a very wide field, and I have been focusing firstly on hospitals and hospital systems, and more narrowly on the inpatient flow management part.

Flow Management involves some very interesting aspects of Lean, KM, and modeling, and includes (but not limited to) Bed Management, ED Management, Utilization Management, Surgical Workflow & Quality Management, and Real Time Location Management.

Some of the people I have met have included Emergency Department Nurses and physicians, Ward Administrators, Utilization Managers and Reviewers, Housekeeping staff, Admissions Clerks, and my absolute favorite, the Bed Czar.

A Bed Czar is described by the IHI as follows:

The centralized bed authority (or “bed czar”) is a person or location responsible for processing all admissions and transfers. Key responsibilities of the centralized bed authority include: active participation in daily bed meetings, convene AM bed huddles; oversee placement of admitted and transfer patients in beds; visit units to identify available beds with staff assigned to them and assess staff capacity to safely take additional admissions; communicate with units about placements and anticipated needs; and serve as a conduit for all physicians admitting patients. The centralized bed authority in most effective when it is incorporated into an overall system for managing real time demand and capacity.

My next blog will have some specifics on flow management from a KM perspective, and I hope readers find it useful.

Bibliography

Loxton, M. H. (2013). A simplified integrated critical activity-based knowledge audit template. Knowl Manage Res Prac.

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