Glossary of Health Knowledge Management Terms

The glossary has been updated to include terms which are more relevant to health knowledge management. 

To enhance the definition, references to articles where the terms have been applied, have been added.  The majority of these references have links to full text, although some do require an NHS Athens password, available to NHS employees only.  (NHS employees can register for a password here.)  For users of this site, who are not employed by the NHS, your local academic or public library should be able to obtain the article for you, or you may have electronic access via your employing organization.

If there is a term that is not included and you think it should be, or if you feel that a better explanation of a term is needed, or if you want to suggest an alternative explanation, please contact us. 


Action learning

Facilitated groups enabling colleagues to learn and work together to discover methods to resolve issues.



Developing leadership through action learning

D Rayner, H Chisholm, H Appleby

Nursing Standard, 2002, 16(29), pp37-39


Adaptive learning

Method of gaining new skills by observing outcomes and changing practice.  Also known as single loop learning.



Hindsight bias, outcome knowledge and adaptive learning

K Henriksen, H Kaplan

Quality and Safety in Health Care, 2003, 12(2), pp46-50


After action review

A briefing or analysis following the completion of an activity to see whether anything could have or should have been done differently.  A process developed by the US Army to help teams to learn quickly from their successes and failures and share their learning with other teams. Involves conducting a structured and facilitated discussion after a task or project has been completed to review what should have happened, what actually happened and why it happened; this allows participants to learn how to sustain strengths and improve on weaknesses in subsequent tasks or projects.



Knowledge management at WHO

C Bailey

2005, World Health Organization


Artificial intelligence

Computer programs which simulate the learning and reasoning capabilities of humans, performing tasks, which humans would use thought processes to carry out.



Sign language recognition and translation: a multidisciplined approach from the field of artificial intelligence

BS Parton

Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 2006, 11(1), pp94-101



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Balanced scorecard

A management tool, developed by Kaplan and Norton, to measure organizational performance against both short and long-term goals. The balanced scorecard is designed to focus managers' attention on those factors that most help healthcare organizations reach the targets set by internal and/or national strategies. Some organizations have used the balanced scorecard model in setting and measuring knowledge management strategies.



A process evaluation of a health care balance scorecard

MK Bilkhu-Thompson

Journal of Health Care Finance, 2003, 30(2), pp37-64



The practice of comparing the performance of your organization, department or function against the performance of 'the best' - whether they be other organizations, industry standards or internal departments. The aim is to look at how well you are doing compared to others in the same field or industry, and to learn from their best practices as a basis for improving your own.



Using a health promotion model to promote benchmarking

J Welby

Paediatric Nursing, 2006, 18(6), pp34-36


Benefits reviews

Identifying the benefits of an activity and monitoring when they are achieved.



Delivering quality and value: the ISIP guide to strategy and benefits.

2006, Integrated Service Improvement Programme


Best practice

A process or methodology that has been proven to work well and produce good results, and is therefore recommended as a model. Some people prefer to use the term 'good practice' as in reality it is debateable whether there is a single 'best' approach.



Best practices for retaining your 'sages' - nursing staff over age 50

L Flowers

OR Manager, 2006, 22(9), pp17-19



An online resource which can be open access or password protected, allowing people with similar interests to share and discuss ideas.



Quick reads: blogging as a venue for nurse faculty development

SC Shaffer, SP Lackey, GW Bolling

Nurse Education Perspectives, 2006, 27(3), pp126-128



A system enabling work colleagues to pair off and provide mutual support in overcoming work-related issues and accomplishing goals.



Volunteers and learning: developing an inclusive learning culture: summary

Volunteer Centre Test Valley : Romsey, UK (URL accessed 06/06/06)



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Capacity building

A term sometimes used in knowledge management to describe the process of enhancing an organization's ability to implement knowledge management principles and practices.



Reorienting health services with capacity building: a case study of the core skills in health promotion project

HR Yeatman, T Nove

Health Promotion International, 2002, 17(4), pp341-350



A person who proactively promotes something with the aim of persuading others of its benefits.



Bring on the champions

B McPherson

Community Care, 2006, 1616, pp38-39


Chief Information Officer (CIO)

A senior position with strategic responsibility for information management and information technology.



HIMSS report: CIOs: ready to lead?...chief information officers.

C Webb

H HN: Hospitals Health Networks, 2002, 76(3), p34


Chief Knowledge Officer (CKO)

A senior position with strategic responsibility for knowledge management.



On leadership. The leader as chief knowledge officer.

K Kerfoot

Urologic Nursing, 2003, 23(5), pp382-383, 386


Clinical Knowledge Management

Management of tacit knowledge in healthcare, eg lessons learned from adverse events.



Institutional clinical knowledge management using web-enabled processes and palmtop computers

M Tschopp, A Geissbuhler

Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association Supplement of the Procedures of the AMIA Symposium, 2001



A one-to-one relationship that aims to bring about individual learning and performance improvement, usually focusing on achieving predefined objectives within a specific time period. The role of the coach is to create a supportive environment in which to challenge and develop the critical thinking skills, ideas and behaviour of the person being coached, so that they might reach their full potential. Related term: Mentoring.



Coaching your subordinates

D Silsbee

Occupational Health & Safety, 2005, 74(3), pp18, 20



A generic term that simply means teamwork or a group effort. It also has a more specific meaning in knowledge management, where it is often used to describe close working relationships involving the sharing of knowledge.



View from the front line: collaboration

H Brown

Health Information on the Internet, 2005, 48, p11


Communities of interest

Networks of people who share a common interest in a particular topic, either work-related or peripheral to work, and who come together informally to share knowledge on that topic. Related term: Communities of practice.



A community-oriented primary care demonstration project: refining interventions for cardiovascular disease and diabetes

M Plescia, M Groblewski

Annals of Family Medicine, 2004, 2(2), pp103-109


Communities of practice

Networks of people who work on similar processes or in similar disciplines, and who come together to develop and share their knowledge in that field for the benefit of both themselves and their organization(s). They may be created formally or informally, and they can interact online or in person. Related term: Communities of interest.



Chapter 22: Cultivating a public sector knowledge management community of practice

S Callahan

pp267-281. IDEA Group Inc. 2004



Professional skills and ability to carry out health care duties and responsibilities.



Impact of educational intervention on confidence and competence in the performance of a simple surgical task

SS Leopold, HD Morgan, NJ Kadel, GC Gardner, DC Schaad, FM Wolf

Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (American), 2005, 87A(5), pp1031-1037


Competitive advantage

The services, innovations, and procedures, that differentiate the quality of patient care delivered by on healthcare organization from that delivered by other healthcare organizations.



Competitive advantage: implementing strategy in the NHS

A Richardson

Nursing Management (London), 2002, 9(4), pp14-17


Competitive intelligence

Analyzing the activities of other healthcare organizations to see how local health care strategy can be improved.



Knowledge management: re-thinking information management and facing the challenge of managing tacit knowledge

S Al-Hawamdeh

Information Research, 2002, 8(1), paper no.143


Content management

The process of organizing, adding, and editing data so that it is easily accessible by all the relevant people and departments.



The impact of e-learning in medical education

JG Ruiz, MJ Mintzer, RM Leipzig

Academic Medicine, 2006, 81(3), pp207-212


Content management system

Computer software to facilitate the process of organizing, adding, and editing data so that it is easily accessible by all the relevant people and departments.



Introducing the National Library for Health Skin Conditions Specialist Library

D Grindlay, MN Kamel Boulos, HC Williams

BMC Dermatology, 2005, 5(4)


Corporate memory

The professional knowledge and experience that is possessed by individual healthcare employees, but is important to the success of the organization.



Sustainable chronic disease management in remote Australia

J Wakerman, EM Chalmers, JS Humphreys, CL Clarence, AI Bell, A Larson, D Lyle, DR Pashen

Medical Journal of Australia, 2005, 183(10), S64-S68



The values and ethos of an organization.



Needlestick injuries in the National Health Service: a culture of silence

B Elmiyeh, IS Whitaker, MJ James, CAA Chahal, A Galea A

Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 2004, 97(7), pp326-327


Customer capital

Patient values and preferences, and their role in the treatment decision-making process.



Intellectual capital reporting in health care centers - the developing of a prototype framework

K Hermansson, N Holberg, A Ringquist

(2003) Lund University : Sweden


Customer relationship management

The act of ensuring that the patient is involved in the treatment decision-making process.



Case study: a health check-up for the corporate IT department

F Clark, W Kimmerly

Journal of Healthcare Information Management, 2004, 18(1), pp59-64



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Refers to statistics on groups of patients/organizations with the same conditions/issues or personal information on individual patients.



Trends in computer use from 1982-2003: making sense of ASHA's survey data

ASHA Leader, 2006, 11(9), p15


Data mining

Analyzing data to identify patterns and relationships so that decision-making processes can be improved.



Combining data mining tools with health care models for improved understanding of health processes and resources utilisation

P Harper

Clinical and Investigative Medicine, 2005, 28(6), pp338-341


Decision support

System using algorithms and decision rules to help health professionals make better treatment decisions.



Evaluation of the decision support computer program for cancer pain management

E Im, W Chee

Oncology Nursing Forum, 2006, 33 (5), pp977-982



A piece of writing containing information such as process, account of events, guidance, background, answers.



Incorporating documents into qualitative nursing research

F Miller, K Alvarado

Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 2005, 37(4), pp348-353


Double-loop learning

Building on single-loop learning, this process identifies and corrects the error, and then changes the organization's procedures and or strategy to ensure that the mistakes do not happen again. Also referred to as higher-level learning, generative organization's procedures and or strategy to ensure that the mistakes do not happen again. Also referred to as higher-level learning, generative learning, learning to expand an organization's capabilities, or strategic learning.



The role of reflection in single and double loop learning

J Greenwood

Journal of Advanced Nursing, 1998, 27(5), pp1048-1053



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Refers to an electronic community. Information Communication Technology (ICT) is used to enable communication between people who have a common bond. The community may be built in the virtual world (virtual community via the Internet eg NHS Networks) or be a physical community utilizing ICT, such as Microsoft Sharepoint or Linux Collaborative Virtual Workspace.



Community networks: identities, taxonomies and evaluations

T Denison, G Hardy, G Johanson, L Stillman, D Schauder

Electronic Networking, 2002



Government activities, such as exchanging information and financial transactions, that involve the use of technology and the Internet.



A virtual organisation model for e-government

J Burn, G Robins

(2001) Proceedings of the 6th Annual CollECTeR Conference on Electronic Commerce



Learning activities available via technology, such as the Internet.



E-learning for healthcare students: developing the communities of practice framework

P Moule

Journal of Advanced Nursing, 2006, 54(3), pp370-380



The act of encouraging patients and health professionals to commit to a program be it practice or treatment-related.



Patients' evaluations of the quality of care: influencing factors and the importance of engagement

SH Staniszewska, L Henderson

Journal of Advanced Nursing, 2005, 49(5), pp530-537


Environmental scanning

Monitoring health trends to foresee future health events in order to make better decisions.



Environmental-scanning behavior among practice physical therapy firms

DS Schafer

Physical Therapy, 1991, 71(6), pp482-490


Evidence-based decision-making

Process of making choices about patient care based on high quality research.



A collaborative model for service delivery for children with movement disorders: a framework for evidence-based decision making

RJ Palisano

Physical Therapy, 2006, 86(9), pp1295-1305


Exit interview

A meeting with an employee who is leaving the organization to find out more about their experiences, with a view to improving practice.



The value of exit interviews

LL Miles

Dental Assistant, 2006, 75(2), pp27,46


Expert system

A resource which pulls together all the knowledge of specialists in a particular discipline and allows it to be shared to help others make decisions.



Refining clinical terminology for expert system development: an application in the neonatal intensive care unit

TL Panniers

Pediatric Nursing, 2002, 28(5), pp519-523, 529


Expertise directory

A compilation of the type of skills that an employee offers together with their contact details.



Do you know who your experts are? Companies need a new approach to finding their elusive experts.

M Idinopoulos, L Kempler

The McKinsey Quarterly, 2003, 4


Explicit knowledge

Information that is formally recorded and stored where people can access it.



Facilitating the exchange of explicit knowledge through ontology mappings

MS Lacher, G Groh

(2001) American Association for Artificial Intelligence.



Transferring skills and knowledge to other employees within the organization, particularly in other locations.



Externalization of the health care system's education programs

MA Seisser, AL Epstein

Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions. 1999, 19(3), pp170-180



Similar to an organization's Intranet, but allows password-protected access to information to be shared with stakeholders who are not located on the same computer network.



A Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome extranet: supporting local communication and information dissemination

RK Valaitis, N Akhtar-Danesh, CM Kealey, GM Brunetti, H Thomas

BMC Medical Informatics Decision Making, 2005, 5(17)



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A process to support interaction and encourage sharing of knowledge and expertise.



Learning helpers: how they facilitated improvement and improved facilitation - lessons from a hospital-wide quality improvement initiative

J Thor, K Wittlov, B Herrlin, M Brommels, O Svensson, J Skar, J Ovretveit

Quality Management in Health Care, 2004, 13(1), pp60-74



A facility which enables people to meet to discuss and resolve issues and create new ideas.



Regional listening forums: an examination of the methodologies used by the Child Welfare League of America and Lambda Legal to highlight the exerperiences of LGBTQ Youth in Care

R Woronoff, R Estrada

Child Welfare, 2006, 85(2), pp341-360



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Generative learning

This involves learning by adding new knowledge to existing knowledge, and therefore, building on what is already known.



Using external training materials to strengthen health information management in East Africa

J Gladwin, RA Dixon, TD Wilson

Information Research, 2000, 15(4), paper 83


Good practice

A successful method for carrying out a procedure or delivering a service.



Teaching epidemiology using WebCT: application of the seven principles of good practice

L Suen

Journal of Nursing Education, 2005, 44(3), pp143-146



The formal process of accountability employed to monitor the implementation of the strategy, to ensure that goals are achieved satisfactorily.



The complexities of multi-level governance in public health

K Wilson

Canadian Journal of Public Health, 2004, 95(6), pp409-412



Software that allows groups of people to work on the same document, to facilitate collaborative working.



PI3: performance improvement, ideas and innovations. Don't be left out of the loop: using groupware

DI Johnson

Journal of Nursing Care Quality, 1998, 12(5), pp7-8



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Capturing employee expertise to ensure that valuable professional knowledge is not lost.



Expediting the harvest and transfer of knowledge for practice in nursing: catalyst for a journal

NE Donaldson, DN Rutledge

Online Journal of Clinical Innovations, 1998, 1(2), pp1-25


Health informatics

Technology applied in healthcare. An additional glossary, published by the British Medical Journal, is available here.



Evidence-based healthcare and health informatics: derivations and extension of epidemiology

T Nakayama

Journal of Epidemiology, 2006, 16(3), pp93-100


Health knowledge management

Process of capturing and organizing health professionals' expertise and disseminating it to improve clinical practice.



Does health care for knowledge management?

J van Beveren

Journal of Knowledge Management, 2003, 7(1), pp90-95


Human capital

The value to the organization of the employees and their abilities and expertise.



Human capital management: implications for health care leaders

KA Hart

Nursing Economics, 2006, 24(4), pp218-219, 222



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Implicit knowledge

Knowledge that is not documented, but is in an individual's mind, for example, understanding, intuition, wisdom, expertise, ideas, competence. Related term: Tacit knowledge.



Making explicit the implicit knowledge assets in healthcare: the case of multidisciplinary teams in care and cure environments

N Wickramasinghe, G Davison

Health Care Management Science, 2004, 7(3), pp185-195



A term that is used in a variety of ways. Some regard it as the study of the impact that technology has on people. Some take a broader view and consider it to be the science of information and information technology. Others regard it as being broader still, referring to the creation, recognition, representation, collection, organization, transformation, communication, evaluation and control of information in various contexts. Technology applied in healthcare. An additional glossary, published by the British Medical Journal, is available here. Related term: Health informatics.



Improving services with informatics tools

F Sullivan, JC Wyatt

British Medical Journal, 2005, 331(7526), pp1190-1192



Data that has been organized within a context and translated into a form that has structure and meaning.



Obtaining and providing health information in the community pharmacy setting

SL Iwanowicz, M Weck Marciniak, MM Zeolla

American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 2006, 70(3), article 57, pp1-16


Information analyst

A role which involves studying data to identify a pattern or trend.



The clinical information analyst.

B Versage.

Pa Nurse, 2006, 61(2), p15


Information architecture

The design and structure of information technology gateways, such as intranets and websites.



The information architecture of behavior change websites.

BG Danaher, HG McKay, JR Seeley

Journal of Medical Internet Research, 2005, 7(2), e12


Information audit

A method of reviewing and mapping information in an organization. An information audit looks at things like what information is needed, what information there currently is, where it is, in what forms, how it flows around the organization, where there are gaps and where there is duplication, how much is it costing, what its value is, how it is used etc. Related term: Knowledge audit.



Information audit: whose line is it anyway?

A Booth, M Haines

Health Libraries Review, 1993, 10(4), pp224-232


Information communication technology (ICT)

Technology that combines computing with high-speed communications links carrying data, sound and video.



Medical education for rural areas: opportunities and challenges for information and communications technologies

JM Sargeant

Journal of Postgraduate Medicine, 2005, 51(4), pp301-307


Information literacy

A term which encompasses the identification of information need and the ability to find, evaluate and use information to meet that need. More resources are available here.



Information literacy: instrument development to measure competencies and knowledge among nursing educators, nursing administrators, and nursing clinicians: a pilot study

S Pierce, D Pravikoff, AB Tanner

AMIA Annual Symposium Procedures, 2003, 971


Information management

The management of an organization's information resources in order to improve the performance of the organization. Information management underpins knowledge management, as people derive knowledge from information.



Case-based exercises fail to improve medical students' information management skills: a controlled trial

HS Chumley, AE Dobbie, JE Delzell

BMC Medical Education, 2006, 6:14


Information overload

A state where a person has so much information that they are no longer able to effectively process and make use of it.



"Learning to Fly" in a world of information overload

G Parcell

Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 2005, 83(10), pp727-728


Information retrieval

Methods used to search for and identify, based on specified criteria, records/data/documents, etc which have been stored on a database or on the Internet.



Do online information retrieval systems help experienced clinicians answer clinical questions?

JL Westbrook, EW Coiera, AS Gosling

Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. 2005, 12(3) pp315-321


Information technology (IT)

A term that encompasses the physical elements of computing including servers, networks and desktop computing which enable digital information to be created, stored, used and shared.



Evaluating information technology in health care: barriers and challenges

H Heathfield, D Pitty, R Hanka

British Medical Journal, 1998, 316(7149), pp1959-1961



The creation of something new or different; the conversion of knowledge and ideas into a new benefit, such as new or improved processes or services.



Public health, innovation and intellectual property rights: unfinished business

T Turmen, C Clift

Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 2006, 84(5):338


Intangible assets

The non-physical resources of an organization. An example might be the reputation linked to a brand name such as Mercedes or Microsoft, or the loyalty of customers to a company such as Marks & Spencer. These assets are not generally accounted for in an organization's financial statements, but they are of great value to the organization.



The valuation of health care intangible assets

RF Reilly, JR Rabe

Health Care Management Review, 1997, 22(2), pp55-64


Intellectual assets

This relates to the value, to the organization, of the knowledge that people possess. For example, it could mean the knowledge that a nurse possesses about a particular method of treatment administration, which improves the patient journey, thus increasing patient satisfaction. See: Knowledge assets.



Designing organizational memory: preserving intellectual assets in a knowledge economy

J Conklin

(2001) Cognexus Institute : USA


Intellectual capital

The value, or potential value, of an organization's intellectual assets (or knowledge assets). An attempt by organizations to place a financial value on their knowledge. Intellectual capital is often defined as the combination of three sub-categories: human capital, structural capital and customer capital.



Financial capital and intellectual capital in physician practice management

JC Robinson

Health Affairs (Millwood), 1998, 17(4), pp53-74


Intellectual property

Explicit intellectual assets (or knowledge assets) that are protected by law. Includes things like patents, trademarks, copyrights, licences etc. Intellectual property rights The legal rights associated with intellectual property.



Intellectual property and public health

A Krattiger, RT Mahoney

Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 2006, 84(5):340



The Internet is a vast system of computers that are 'networked' (linked together) to exchange information and resources. Through the use of computers connected to telephone lines, the Internet makes it easy for people all over the world to communicate with each other. It is a shared global resource that is not owned or regulated by anyone.



Internet interventions for long-term conditions: patient and caregiver quality criteria

C Kerr, E Murray, F Stevenson, C Gore, I Nazareth.

Journal of Medical Internet Research, 2006, 8(3), e13



A computer network that functions like the internet, but the information and web pages are located on computers within an organisation rather than being accessible to the general public.



Develop your own practice intranet. It really can be a do-it-yourself project, and you probably have the basic tools already

F Bradd

Family Practice Management, 2003, 10(2), pp37-40



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Skill or capability or understanding derived from knowledge and experience.



"Know what" and "know how": knowledge creation in clinical practice

R Niederman, J Leitch

Journal of Dental Research, 2006, 85(4), pp296-297



There are many definitions of knowledge. A dictionary definition is "the facts, feelings or experiences known by a person or group of people" (Collins English Dictionary). Knowledge is derived from information but it is richer and more meaningful than information. It includes familiarity, awareness and understanding gained through experience or study, and results from making comparisons, identifying consequences, and making connections. Some experts include wisdom and insight in their definitions of knowledge. In organizational terms, knowledge is generally thought of as being 'know how', 'applied information', 'information with judgement' or 'the capacity for effective action'.



Advancement of scientific knowledge through international collaborative research

MR Jorge

World Psychiatry, 2006, 5(3), pp190-192


Knowledge assets

Those parts of an organization's intangible assets that relate specifically to knowledge, such as know-how, best practice, intellectual property and the like. Knowledge assets are often divided into human (people, teams, networks and communities), structural (the codified knowledge that can be found in processes and procedures) and technological (the technologies that support knowledge sharing such as databases and intranets). By understanding the knowledge assets an organization possesses, the organization can improve its ability to use them to best effect and also to spot any gaps that may exist.



Making explicit the implicit knowledge assets in healthcare: the case of multidisciplinary teams in care and cure environments

N Wickramasinghe, G Davison

Health Care Management Science, 2004, 7(3), pp185-195


Knowledge audit

A method of reviewing and mapping knowledge in an organization including an analysis of knowledge needs, resources, flows, gaps, users and uses. A knowledge audit will generally include aspectsof an information audit but is broader than an information audit.



Achieving a healthy KM assessment how a knowledge-audit exercise recently carried out at the NHS Modernisation Agency has helped to gauge the success of the KM strategy already in place.

A Neves

Knowledge Management, 2004, 7(10), pp29-31


Knowledge bank

A collection of employee expertise, stored on an electronic database, such as an intranet.



Design and implementation of an intranet driven radiology knowledge bank

P Nair

(2003) University of Florida : US


Knowledge base

The fundamental body of knowledge available to an organization, including the knowledge in people's heads, supported by the organization's collections of information and data. An organization may also build subject-specific knowledge bases to collate information on key topics or processes. The term 'knowledge base' is also sometimes used to describe a database of information.



Prehypertension, patient outcomes, and the knowledge base of family medicine

L Green

Annals of Family Medicine, 2005, 3(4), pp294-299


Knowledge broker

A person who facilitates the creation, sharing and use of knowledge in an organization. Many organizations have created knowledge broker roles such as 'Knowledge Co-ordinator'. The term knowledge broker is also sometimes used to describe companies or individuals that operate commercially as knowledge traders or provide knowledge-related services.



The in-between world of knowledge brokering

J Lomas

British Medical Journal, 2007, 334 (7585) pp129-132


Knowledge centre

A place where knowledge is gathered and stored and can be accessed and used by other people. It may be a physical place like a library, a 'virtual' place like an interactive website or an online discussion board, or a place where people gather such as a café or an informal meeting room or discussion area created to encourage knowledge sharing.



A Canadian knowledge centre (network) on health and learning.  A first draft of a foundation paper to initiate discussion

DS McCall, J Wharf Higgins, I Rootman

(2005) Canadian Council on Learning : Canada


Knowledge creation

Another phrase for idea generation and innovation.



"Know what" and "know how": knowledge creation in clinical practice

R Niederman, J Leitch

Journal of Dental Research, 2006, 85(4), pp296-297


Knowledge economy

An economy in which knowledge plays a predominant part in the creation of wealth.



Australian health and medical research: are we there yet? We need to increase our investment to maintain and improve our position in the global knowledge economy

CC Bennett, MR Vitale

Medical Journal of Australia, 2005, 182(11), pp550-551


Knowledge flow

The ways in which knowledge moves around, and in and out of, an organization.



The dynamics of knowledge flows: human capital mobility, knowledge retention and change

TL Madsen, E Mosakowski, S Zaheer

Journal of Knowledge Management, 2002, 6(2), pp164-166


Knowledge harvesting

A set of methods for making tacit knowledge more explicit - getting people's knowledge into documents, so that it can be more easily shared with others.



Knowledge harvesting from international joint ventures

T Halfvardsson, AJ Maracic, P Sjoberg

(2004) University of Kristianstad : Sweden


Knowledge management

There is a wide variety of definitions of knowledge management. The following is from knowledge management consultants Tfpl:

"The creation and subsequent management of an environment which encourages knowledge to be created, shared, learnt, enhanced, organized and utilized for the benefit of the organization and its customers."

The definition used by the Knowledge Management Specialist Library is:

"The way in which multidisciplinary teams, working in healthcare, harvest the personal expertise that is essential to patient safety, learn from it, adapt it to local situations and individual patients, and distribute it via reliable networks to the people caring for the patients so that they can use it to improve the quality of care delivered."



Working knowledge in management and medicine: tales of technology and ontology

D Mulcahy

(2000) UTS Research Centre Vocational Education & Training Working Knowledge: productive learning at work conference proceedings.


Knowledge management solution

A solution to a knowledge management problem, or the use of knowledge management techniques to solve an organizational problem. However, in practice a 'knowledge management solution' more often than not refers to a piece of knowledge management technology or software.



Wiki and the wiki way: beyond a knowledge management solution

J Gonzalez-Reinhart

(2005) CT Bauer College of Business : University of Houston


Knowledge management strategy

A detailed plan outlining how an organization intends to implement knowledge management principles and practices in order to achieve organizational objectives.



Choosing your knowledge management strategy

K Haggie, J Kingston

Journal of Knowledge Management, 2003, June, article 51


Knowledge mapping

A process to determine where knowledge assets are in an organization, and how knowledge flows operate in the organization. Evaluating relationships between holders of knowledge will then illustrate the sources, flows, limitations, and losses of knowledge that can be expected to occur. Identifying knowledge and directing it to the relevant people who might need it.



Knowledge mapping as a technique to support knowledge translation

S Ebener, A Khan, R Shademani, L Compernolle, M Beltran, M Lansang, M Lippman

Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 2006, 84(8), pp636-642


Knowledge repository

A place to store and retrieve explicit knowledge. A low-tech knowledge repository could be a set of file folders. A high-tech knowledge repository might be based on a database platform.



Organizing the present, looking to the future: an online knowledge repository to facilitate collaboration

C Burchill, LL Roos, P Fergusson, L Jebamani, K Turner, S Dueck

Journal of Medical Internet Research, 2000, 2(2), e10


Knowledge and Skills Framework

This document has been created for the National Health Service in England, and aims to facilitate the Agenda for Change process by describing the knowledge and skills required by individuals to fulfill their job role.



The NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework (NHS KSF) and the Development Review Process

Agenda for Change Project Team

(2004) Department of Health : UK


Knowledge transfer

The activity of transforming knowledge into a format which can be used to improve clinical practice and service delivery.



Knowledge transfer and exchange

Collection of resources on knowledge transfer and exchange from the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation.


Knowledge translation

Transforming wisdom and expertise into a format that will be useful to other employees.



Systematic reviews and knowledge translation

P Tugwell, V Robinson, J Grimshaw, N Santesso

Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 2006, 84(8), pp643-651


Knowledge worker

An employee whose role relies on his or her ability to find and use knowledge.



Personal knowledge management: supporting individual knowledge worker performance

K Wright

Knowledge Management Research and Practice, 2005, 3, pp156-165



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Learning organization

An organization that views its success in the future as being based on continuous learning and adaptive behaviour. It therefore becomes skilled at creating, acquiring, interpreting and retaining knowledge and then modifying its behaviour to reflect new knowledge and insights.



Creating a school without walls and building a learning organization: a case study

SN Frankl, M Gibbons-Carr

Journal of Dental Education, 2001, 65(11), pp1253-1263


Lessons learned

Lessons learned are concise descriptions of knowledge derived from experiences, that can be communicated through mechanisms such as storytelling, debriefing etc, or summarised in databases. These lessons often reflect on "what we did right," "what we would do differently," and "how we could improve our process and product to be more effective in the future."



Brief strategic family therapy: lessons learned in efficacy research and challenges to blending research and practice

DA Santisteban, L Suarez-Morales, MS Robbins, J Szapocznik

Family Process, 2006, 45(2), pp259-271



To realise the inherent value of an asset - physical or knowledge-based - beyond what is currently being realised. In short, to get more value out of it.



Use of leverage to improve adherence to psychiatric treatment in the community

J Monahan, AD Redlich, J Swanson, PC Robbins, PS Appelbaum, J Petrila, HJ Steadman, M Swartz, B Angell, DE McNiel

Psychiatric Services, 2005, 56(1), pp37-44


Lost knowledge

Expertise that is not collected because knowledge management procedures are not in place.



Managing the threat of lost knowledge through technology and teamwork.

KA Scott

Nursing Administration Quarterly, 2007, 31(1), pp17-21



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Managed learning environment

A managed learning environment encompasses all of the educational institution’s information communication technologies which deliver or support learning.



JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) MLEs

JISC are currently exploring developments in this area. More information on their web pages.



A meme is something created by one person and responded to by other people, either by copying it as an example of good practice, or possibly with the aim of building and improving on the original meme. Examples of memes are statements, questions, and ideas.



What makes a meme successful? Selection criteria for cultural evolution

F Heylighen

(1998) Procedures of the 15th International Congress on Cybernetics



Mentoring is a one-to-one learning relationship in which a senior member of an organization is assigned to support the development of a newer or more junior member by sharing his or her knowledge, experience and wisdom with them. Related term: Coaching. (Note: While the strength of mentoring lies in transferring the mentor's specific knowledge and wisdom, in coaching it lies in the coach's ability to facilitate and develop the other's own personal qualities.)



Developing a culture of mentoring

GL Warnock

Canadian Journal of Surgery, 2006, 49(3), pp168-169



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Stories of past experience and lessons learned from practices that have been successes or failures.



The power of narratives

RW Redman

Research and Theory for Nursing Practice, 2005, 19(1), pp5-7



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Online community

A space on the Internet where people with like-minded interests can meet virtually to resolve issues and come up with new ideas, without having to leave their working environment. This is useful, particularly for organizations, such as the National Health Service, which are spread over a large geographic area.



The role of an online community for people with a rare disease: content analysis of messages posted on a primary biliary cirrhosis mailinglist

JN Lasker, ED Sogolow, RR Sharim

Journal of Medical Internet Research, 2005, 7(1), e10


Organizational culture

In short, 'the way we do things around here'. An organization's culture is a mixture of its traditions, values, attitudes and behaviours. Different organizations can have very different cultures. In knowledge management, an organization's culture is extremely important - if it is not based on qualities such as trust and openness, then knowledge management initiatives are unlikely to succeed.



The quantitative measurement of organizational culture in health care: a review of the available instruments

T Scott, R Mannion, H Davies, M Marshall

Health Services Research, 2003, 38(3), pp923-945


Organizational learning

The ability of an organization to gain knowledge from experience through experimentation, observation, analysis and a willingness to examine both successes and failures, and to then use that knowledge to do things differently. While organisational learning cannot happen without individual learning, individual learning does not necessarily produce organizational learning. Organizational learning occurs when an organization becomes collectively more knowledgeable and skilful in pursuing a set of goals.



Leading organisational learning in healthcare

JS Carroll, AC Edmondson

Quality and Safety in Health Care, 2002, 11(1), pp51-56


Organizational memory

The knowledge and understanding embedded in an organization's people, processes and products or services, along with its traditions and values. Organizational memory can either assist or inhibit the organization's progress.



Abstraction and history - from institutional amnesia to organizational memory

I Tuomi

(1995) Proceedings of the 28th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences



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Peer evaluation

Colleagues with more experience, assess their peers to gauge experience levels and professional development needs.



Assessing professionalism in early medical education: experience with peer evaluation and self-evaluation in the gross anatomy course

RE Bryan, AJ Krych, SW Carmichael, TR Viggiano, W Pawlina

Annals of Academic Medicine Singapore, 2005, 34(8), pp486-491


Peer mentoring

Support from people who work together.  One person in the team might have more experience, which can be passed onto other colleagues in the team.



Peer-mentoring workshop for continuous professional development

Z Austin, A Marini, N MacLeod Glover, D Tabak

American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 2006, 70(5), article 117



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Records management

Every organization creates records, whether in paper, film, electronic record, or some other format. Records management helps an organization to make sure it is creating and maintaining an adequate documentary record of its functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions. It then helps the organisation to decide which ones to keep and which ones to destroy and how best to organise them all. Hence it involves processes relating to the generation, receipt, processing, storage, retrieval, distribution, usage and retirement of an organization's records.



Professional boundaries and medical records management

CE Lipscomb

Journal of the Medical Library Association, 2003, 91(4), pp393-396


Reflective practitioner

Health professionals who evaluate their activities for professional development, to identify what worked well, what didn't and working out they can improve their practice.



The reflective practitioner: reaching for excellence in practice

MM Plack, L Greenberg

Pediatrics, 2005, 116(6), pp1546-1552


Root cause analysis

The process by which problems are analysed to identify the original cause, so that the problems can be resolved.



Techniques for root case analysis

PM Williams

Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings, 2001, 14(2), pp154-157



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Service culture

Strategy which builds patient needs into the ethos of the organization.



Linking a service culture with patient satisfaction

KS Goehring

Healthcare Executive, 2002, 17(4), pp60-61



Professional development activity, which involves learning new skills by following and observing a colleague as they carry out their work activities.



The shadowing experience for nursing students

J Eades, K Hill, J Craig

Nursing Standard, 2005, 20(12), pp48-51


Shared practice

Passing on lessons learned so that others can learn from and adapt successful experience.



Primary health care services provided by nurse practitioners and family physicians in shared practice

D Way, L Jones, B Baskerville, N Busing

Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2001, 165(9), pp1210-1214


Single-loop learning

Single-loop learning involves using knowledge to solve specific problems based on existing assumptions, and often based on what has worked in the past. This involves correcting a problem without changing the policies or targets of the organization. Also referred to as lower-level learning, adaptive learning, coping, or non strategic learning. In contrast, double-loop learning goes a step further and questions existing assumptions in order to create new insights. For example, take the problem 'how do we prevent earthquakes from killing people?' The single-loop answer would be to learn how earthquakes happen and try to predict them in order to be prepared. The double-loop answer would question our notion of 'earthquake' and might conclude that earthquakes do not kill people, falling buildings do. (See also: Adaptive learning)



The role of reflection in single and double loop learning

J Greenwood

Journal of Advanced Nursing, 1998, 27(5), pp1048-1053


Social network analysis

A tool which analyses how people work together to solve problems and come up with new ideas.



Social network analysis as an analytic tool for interaction patterns in primary care practices

J Scott, A Tallia, JC Crosson, AJ Orzano, C Stroebel, B DiCicco-Bloom, D O'Malley, E Shaw, B Crabtree

Annals of Family Medicine, 2005, 3(5), pp443-448



Person or organization that has something to gain from or to contribute the development of the resource.



How do stakeholder groups vary in a Delphi technique about primary mental health care and what factors influence their ratings?

SM Campbell, T Shield, A Rogers, L Gask

Quality and Safety in Health Care, 2004, 13(6), pp428-434


Stealth knowledge management

Implementing knowledge management techniques without wide promotion, so that when the benefits appear, knowledge management can be identified as the reason for improved practice. This will encourage people to continue employing KM techniques.



Stealth KM: how to make KM successful in any organization.

N Sinclair

Vine, 2006, 36(1), pp97-107



Format for conveying knowledge of innovation, failures and successes.



The power of stories over statistics

TB Newman

British Medical Journal (Clinical Research Edition), 2003, 327(7429), pp1424-1427



The use of stories in organizations as a way of sharing knowledge and helping learning. Stories can be very powerful communication tools, and may be used to describe complicated issues, explain events, communicate lessons learned, or bring about cultural change. (See also: narratives)



Storytelling: a tool for leadership to shape culture…listen to nurses' stories

CH Smeltzer, F Vlasses

Journal of Nursing Care Quality, 2004, 19(1), pp74-75


Structural capital

An organization's 'captured knowledge' such as best practices, processes, information systems, databases etc. Often described as the knowledge that remains in the organization 'after the employees have gone home for the night'. Structural capital is one component of intellectual capital.



The case for managing structural capital

TA Stewart

Health Forum Journal, 1999, 42(3), pp30, 32-3



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Tacit knowledge

The knowledge or know-how that people carry in their heads. Compared with explicit knowledge, tacit knowledge is more difficult to articulate or write down and so it tends to be shared between people through discussion, stories and personal interactions. It includes skills, experiences, insight, intuition and judgement. Note: Some authors draw a distinction between tacit and implicit knowledge, defining tacit knowledge as that which cannot be written down, and implicit knowledge as that which can be written down but has not been written down yet. In this context, explicit knowledge is defined as that which has already been written down. (See also: Implicit knowledge)



The role of tacit knowledge in the work context of nursing

B Herbig, A Bussing, T Ewert

Journal of Advanced Nursing, 2001, 34(5), pp687-695



A hierarchical structure used for categorizing a body of information or knowledge, allowing an understanding of how that body of knowledge can be broken down into parts, and how its various parts relate to each other. Taxonomies are used to organize information in systems, therefore helping users to find it.



Toward a taxonomy of assistive technology device outcomes

JW Jutai, MJ Fuhrer, L Derners, MJ Scherer, F De Ruyter

American Journal of Physical Medicine Rehabilitation, 2005, 84(4), pp294-302



Index of terms used to classify and organize content.



Restoring the Tower of Babel: building a multilingual thesaurus on health promotion

L Dorst

Health Libraries Review, 1998, 15, pp33-39



The process of making knowledge available in a format that can be understood by the relevant people.



An interactive integrative approach to translating knowledge and building a "learning organization" in health services management" in health services management

S Chunharas

Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 2006, 84(8), pp652-657



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Virtual learning environment

An online education system which allows people to gain knowledge without having to attend a physical establishment.



Building a learning community on-line: the first step towards a national virtual learning environment in orthodontics

AJ Ireland, AS Smith, DM Alder, JR Sandy, SM Chadwick

Journal of Orthodontics, 2005, 32(3), 214-9


Virtual team

'Virtual' is a term used to describe something that exists or is brought together via electronic networks, rather than existing in a single physical place. A virtual team is a group of people who are not located together, but who are working towards the same goal and utilize electronic networks for communication, collaboration and work processes.



Providing leadership in rural health care: the evolving role of virtual teams in managing projects

JE Robinson

Patient Care Management, 2003, 19(1), pp2-4



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Web application that allows groups of people from all over the world to write content together.



Wikis, blogs and podcasts: a new generation of web-based tools for virtual collaborative clinical practice and education

MN Boulos, I Maramba, S Wheeler

BMC Medical Education, 2006, 6(41)


World Wide Web

The terms 'the Internet' and 'the web' are often used interchangeably, however the World Wide Web is actually a collection web pages that can be accessed on the internet. The web has become the most popular area on the internet because everyone can view the pages regardless of what kind of computer they are using.



How do consumers search for and appraise health information on the world wide web? Qualitative study using focus groups, usability tests, and in-depth interviews

G Eysenbach, C Kohler

British Medical Journal, 2002, 324(7337), pp573-577



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