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Knowledge Management in Primary Healthcare Open Access


Other title
Coordinated Healthcare
Knowledge Management
Information Management
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Anwar, Aasia S
Supervisor and department
Doucette, John (Mechanical Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Karapetrovic, Stanislav (Mechanical Engineering)
Dennison, Christopher (Mechanical Engineering)
Lipsett, Michael (Mechanical Engineering)
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Engineering Management
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Canadian healthcare system is confronting some serious challenges. In addition to dealing with aging population with chronic health conditions, it faces the problems related to integration of information technology, uncoordinated care, and waste of valuable resources. There is also pressure on healthcare organizations to reduce cost while improving quality of health services. Since healthcare is a knowledge-intensive industry, appropriate management and use of knowledge can result in improved efficiency of service delivery methods. If implemented well, a proper knowledge management system can educate providers, streamline processes, and bridge care gaps; hence creating and sustaining optimal, cost-effective, and high quality healthcare outcomes. Our first study is a cross-sectional survey conducted among primary care physicians of Edmonton. Since knowledge and skills of healthcare providers are among core competences of healthcare, the goal of our first study is to assess the effect of physician’s personal characteristics (age, gender, years of experience) and practice characteristics (number of patients seen per day and technology usage) on their knowledge management adoption. Statistical results showed that there is no effect of physicians’ personal or practice characteristics on their knowledge management adoption. We speculate that physician’s attitude towards managing knowledge might be influenced by forces outside of the individual or practice settings. However, the result shows strong association between physicians’ knowledge management adoption and their use of information and communication technology, proving that information and communication technology is a strong component of a knowledge management system. Our second study is focused on the discovery of social and technical factors that affect and impede the coordination of health services. Two qualitative research methodologies, namely, observations and semi-structured interviews are used to understand the workflow related to the management of patient-specific information in a Primary Care Network of Alberta. Results showed there are various technical and behavioural impediments in the smooth transfer of information between clinics. We recommend several knowledge management solutions that have the potential to streamline processes and improve coordination. Both studies offer some general insights for consideration within the healthcare setting in a direct and/or indirect way. However, exploring adoption of knowledge management in other domain of care is required as well.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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