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Knowledge Management in Healthcare

Managing activities in medical organizations is an expensive process that is dependent heavily on knowledge flows and communication among various stakeholders that generate external and internal knowledge. A rapidly changing environment that exists nowadays has influenced healthcare organizations and made executives look for knowledge management systems that would structure a significant amount of data that appears in the institutions. This paper will discuss the critical areas of knowledge management in healthcare, examples of baked-in knowledge, and cost evaluation for an EHR application.

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There are several critical areas of knowledge management that experts indicate. Usually, it is stated that the central fields of knowledge management are people, processes, information technology (IT), and strategy (Harper, 2019). Narrowing the areas that might be the most essential for the healthcare field, it can be suggested that people and IT are the most influential in knowledge management. Experts highlight the crucial impact of IT systems on the healthcare industry, stating that IT programs can improve healthcare services measurement, facilitate the flow of data across organizations, and effectively utilize existing knowledge (Haughom, 2014). As people in healthcare institutions, including patients, doctors, managers, are the principal carriers of information, people can be the second central area of knowledge management in healthcare. Specialists note that knowledge management programs are operated by people and help medical professionals to provide effective decision-making (Haughom, 2014). Therefore, the sphere of people is in charge of introducing knowledge management systems in healthcare organizations.

The utility of baked-in knowledge lies around effective decisions, reduction of medical and management mistakes when relevant information and knowledge is tied to a specific subject. One of the examples of baked-in knowledge in a financial workflow in healthcare organizations is automated billing information. Billing codes can be integrated into electronic medical records and help medical managers to indicate which services are provided to a patient and automatically generate bills for the payment. Another example of baked-in knowledge is an order management system embedded in medical records systems and procurement programs. Doctors always require specific drugs that they may order, indicating it through online medical records. The order management system can track financial expenditures and order needed treatments in bulks, achieving economies of scale. The third example of baked-in knowledge in the financial workflow is alerts in an electronic medical record system that indicates when specific drugs can be bought at a lower price or are running out. In this case, baked-in knowledge connected to patient management may improve financial decision-making when patients urgently require certain drugs or prioritize financially vital services that should be provided to patients.

Imagining the possible cost evaluation for an EHR application in a healthcare organization, several areas can be emphasized. First, estimated project costs should be provided, in the case of EHR, an organization might spend $2,000 in software, $5,000 in hardware, $3,000 in implementation, $1,000 in support, and incur $1,000 in productivity loss (Wang & Biedermann). Overall, the expenditures for the initial year will be $12,000. Second, estimated benefits should be calculated based on historical data; the cost of chart pulling might be $2,000 if the cost of one chart pull is $4, and 500 charts will be saved. Additionally, $2,000 can be saved on transportation in the second year of introduction. Overall, the flow of costs might look as follows: -$12,000 outflow in the first year, +$4,000 inflow in the second year, and coverage of initial expenditures to -$8,000. Following the trend, the healthcare organization might get financial and performance benefits after implementing an EHR.

To conclude, one can say that knowledge management systems emerging nowadays can bring different benefits for healthcare organizations that can utilize them. Knowledge management helps to enhance quality outcomes and financial results that positively influence the state of patients that get services. Therefore, healthcare institutions should carefully assess possible costs and benefits and introduce new systems to facilitate the flow of data and communication among various stakeholders.

References

Harper, M. (2019). What are the best four components of knowledge management? The American Productivity & Quality Center. Web.

Haughom, J. (2014). Knowledge management in healthcare: It’s more important than you realize. Health Catalyst. Web.

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Wang, T., & Biedermann, S. (n.d.) Running the numbers on an EHR: Applying cost-benefit analysis in EHR adoption. The American Health Information Management Association. Web.

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