Overcoming knowledge barriers to health care through continuous learning

Journal ar
Journal of Knowledge Management
  • Fecha: 01 January 2019
  • ISSN: 17587484 13673270
  • Source Type: Journal
  • DOI: 10.1108/JKM-10-2018-0636
  • Document Type: Article
  • Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Ltd. Howard House Wagon Lane, Bingley BD16 1WA
© 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore the role of continuous learning and the mitigation or elimination of knowledge barriers affecting information technology (IT) assimilation in the health-care sector. Most of the problems with IT assimilations stem from a poor understanding of the nature of suitable information, the lack of trust, cultural differences, the lack of appropriate training and hierarchical bureaucratic structures and procedures. To overcome these barriers, this study provides evidence that a continuous learning process can play a part in overcoming some of the obstacles to the assimilation of IT. Design/methodology/approach: This study investigates how a continuous learning environment can counteract the presence of knowledge barriers, and, along with such an environment, can, in turn, facilitate IT assimilation. The study uses ADANCO 2.0.1 Professional for Windows and involves the collection and analysis of data provided by 210 health-care end users. Findings: The study provides evidence in support of the proposition that continuous learning may facilitate the assimilation of IT by health-care end users through the mitigation of knowledge barriers (e.g. lack of trust or resistance to change). The mitigation of these barriers requires the gathering and utilization of new knowledge and knowledge structures. The results support the hypothesis that one way in which this can be achieved is through continuous learning (i.e. through assessing the situation, consulting experts, seeking feedback and tracking progress). Research limitations/implications: A limitation of the study is the relatively simple statistical method that has been used for the analysis. However, the results provided here will serve as a preliminary basis for more sophisticated analysis which is currently underway. Practical implications: The study provides useful insights into ways of using continuous learning to facilitate IT assimilation by end users in the health-care domain. This can be of use to hospitals seeking to implement end user IT technologies and, in particular, telemedicine technologies. It can also be used to develop awareness of knowledge barriers and possible approaches to mitigate the effects of such barriers. Such an awareness can assist hospital staff in finding creative solutions for using technology tools. This potentially augments the ability of hospital staff to work with patients and carers, encouraging them to take initiative (make choices and solve problems relevant to them). This, in turn, allows hospitals to avoid negative and thus de-motivating experiences involving themselves and their end users (patients) and improving IT assimilation. This is liable to lead to improved morale and improved assimilation of IT by end users (patients). Social implications: As ICT systems and services should entail participation of a wide range of users, developers and stakeholders, including medical doctors, nurses, social workers, patients and programmers and interaction designers, the study provides useful social implication for health management and people well-being. Originality/value: The paper contributes to a better understanding of the nature and impacts of continuous learning. Although previous studies in the field of knowledge management have shown that knowledge management procedures and routines can provide support to IT assimilation, few studies, if any, have explored the relationship between continuous learning and IT assimilation with particular emphasis on knowledge barriers in the health-care domain.

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