An investigation of clinical knowledge management practices at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi
Hirani, Mumtaz Shaffique
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Globalization has had a lot of impact on the management of various organizations, and the health care sector is not exempt. In the era of knowledge economy, management of knowledge has become a significant tool for enhancing the competitiveness of firms. The Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi is the tertiary, teaching and referral healthcare facility in Kenya. Their approach to care is guided by their core principles of Quality, Access, Impact and Relevance. Knowledge management at The AKUH is primarily facilitated by the University hospital library and The Continuous Medical Education (CME) department. The libraries provide the university community access to comprehensive and multi-disciplinary information resources in print and digital formats. This access is provided through innovative services and state-of-the-art systems. Despite all the above there still exist an empirical gap in the knowledge management practices of the healthcare institution. This study investigated the knowledge management practices implemented in the university hospital. Simple random sampling technique was applied to select a sample size of respondents picked from the university hospital setting. The research applied both quantitative and qualitative data analysis. Out of 201 questionnaires’ distributed, 188 responded giving a response rate of 93%. 8 of the respondents were section heads and 10 were program directors, 64 were consultants, 28 were registrars, 24 were senior house officers and 54 were residents. Data was collected from the respondents using structured questionnaires. For qualitative study, semi structured interviews were conducted on 13 senior managers out of which 8 were chairs of different clinical departments,1ICT officer, 1 regional librarian and 1 head librarian, 1 dean of the medical college and 1 CME coordinator to make a total of thirteen giving a response rate of 81%. Descriptive and causal research designs were used in analysis of the data. The design was ideal in describing the characteristics of the large targeted sample used in the study. The results of the study established that the use of Electronic medical records, Continuous medical education, Communities of Practice, Knowledge cafes, and Web based system are the key knowledge management practices that are in place in the university hospital. The leadership role played by top management emerged as being a key facilitator of knowledge management practices in the healthcare facility. The results from this study will inform the hospital management on the knowledge management practices in the hospital, suggest that knowledge management practices directly influence the performance of clinical staff. Key recommendations from the study were that an alignment of knowledge management policy to the organizational strategy would act as guideline on how knowledge should be disseminated within the organization, secondly the role of leadership in managing KM activities in terms of management support is key and finally, incentive programs which reward knowledge sharing are important so as to encourage employees to actively share knowledge both in the departments and across department knowledge sharing. Further research efforts can investigate the impact of social media in the improving implementation of knowledge management within organizations or between sector partners. The study was limited to the Aga Khan University Hospital which is a private health care facility, further studies can be carried out in public health care facilities.