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Knowledge Management Systems for Lean Healthcare

This project was Funded in part by Warwick International Manufacturing Centre, IMRC grant SCAP 19

Over the past ten years Knowledge Management (KM), as a concept and a set of practices, has penetrated into the fabric of organizational and managerial processes in the UK private sector. More recently the public sector has begun to embrace the theories and practices in this area. Healthcare is a knowledge intensive business and KM initiatives hold the promise of improved efficiency in this sector. The challenge is to dramatically improve the capacity of health care organisations to leverage existing knowledge - both clinical evidence and managerial and operational know-how and to exploit in real time the opportunities provided by the latest innovations. However, as far as we are aware, there has been no detailed assessment of current KM initiatives in UK healthcare. 

This scoping project investigated the current KM concepts, policies and practices within the UK healthcare sector in view of identifying priorities for future R&D activity. Its overall aim was to ascertain the practical relevance of this topic and the ways in which future academic research and development could make a difference.

The study explored the ways in which KM is perceived as useful or otherwise, surveying the type of KM initiatives that currently exist both at a local and national level. It also compared these initiatives with examples of best practice from other countries and  sectors.  

The research included three main activities:

  • Review of state-of-the-art of KM practices in healthcare and other sectors. 
    This included a desk study of the existing literature, a series of interviews with UK experts on KM in the healthcare sector, interviews with members of the KIN Network, on site visits to least three international centres of excellence on KM in healthcare.
  • Phone survey of the KM practices currently carried out in West Midlands healthcare organisations 
  • Validation of a "WIMRC innovation agenda for promoting KM in the healthcare sector" through an expert workshop

The research was conducted in close collaboration with the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, which actively supported the project and organised the final expert work. 

Research output

The Final report of the Scoping study is available here (PDF Document) 

Powerpoint presentation summarising the findings and the ways forward (PDF Document)


Project Team:

Davide Nicolini (IKON)
Paul Conville (IKON)
Laura Martinez-Solano
(Warwick Manufacturing Centre)
John Powell
(Warwick Medical School)