Jan 312017

AJ Rhem Logo with Tag LineKnowledge is recognized as a valuable asset in organizations across many industries. How knowledge is shared, leveraged, obtained and managed will be the difference in how successful and sustainable an organization will become. The use of knowledge management principles, practices and procedures has expanded enormously in recent years. This expansion has also brought about the proliferation of knowledge management systems in its many forms, Contact Center Knowledge Repositories, Expertise Locators, Content Management, Document Management, Knowledge Repositories/Libraries, Social Media Applications, Decision Support Systems, to name a few. The inclusion of KM from a strategic point of view to streamline revenue, increase revenue, improve performance, attract/retain customers and manage human capital have enabled organizations to maintain and/or improve their competitive edge. Knowledge Management in Practice is a resource which presents how KM is being implemented along with specific KM Methods, tips, techniques and best practices to get the most out of your KM investment.

This blog post features two videos from the presentation of my latest book: Knowledge Management in Practice. This presentation was conducted at the Knowledge Management Institute (KMI) Certified Knowledge Manager (CKM) training class held in Washington DC.

The second video features the question and answer session that followed. Feel free to ask questions regarding the book here on this blog and/or make comments on YouTube. I look forward to hearing from everyone!





Aug 312016

Knowledge Management in Practice by Anthony J RhemKnowledge is recognized as a valuable asset in organizations across many industries. How knowledge is shared, leveraged, obtained and managed will be the difference in how successful and sustainable an organization will become. This book is a culmination of my years of experience within the knowledge management (KM) discipline. Since 1998 I have been involved in knowledge management, from researching, developing processes for capturing and codifying knowledge, developing knowledge management systems, developing and operationalizing knowledge management strategies across several industries, writing articles, books, developing and teaching KM curriculum and speaking at numerous KM conferences.

My latest book Knowledge Management in Practice covers how knowledge management is leveraged in several industries. An examination of the various uses of KM practices, policies, procedures and methods including tips and techniques to create a competitive advantage are presented. The industries that are covered include first responders, military, healthcare, Insurance, financial services, legal, human resources, merger and acquisition firms, and research institutions.

Essential Knowledge Management concepts are also explored not only from a foundational perspective, but from a practical application. These knowledge management concepts include capturing and codifying tacit and explicit knowledge, KM methods, information architecture, search, KM and social media, KM and Big Data, adoption of KM, and why KM Initiatives fail.

The following are the subjects that are covered and what you can expect from the various chapters:

  • The Case for Knowledge Management (KM): Chapter 2 – The Case for Knowledge Management details the factors you must consider to in order to make the case for your organization to start instituting KM and its various practices and policies. This chapter details what will be necessary for your organization to either launch a KM initiative/project, and/or establish a KM program.
  • Being Social – KM and Social Media: Chapter 3 – In this chapter KM and Social Media examines how social media tools and techniques are becoming facilitators of knowledge for the organization. In this chapter specific guidance and insight is given to develop your organizations social media strategy and to determine the social media tools, techniques and platforms that can be utilized to begin taking advantage of what social media can bring to KM.
  • Dude, where’s my car: Utilizing Search in KM: Chapter 4 – Utilizing search in KM details the importance of search in knowledge management and in particular a knowledge management system. Several aspects of implementing search are examined including the importance of having user centric information architecture.
  • The Age of Discovery: KM in Research Institutions: Chapter 5 – Research institutions play a key role in product innovation. Knowledge Management is a catalyst to stimulating and sustaining a high level of innovation. This chapter examines how KM is utilized; focusing on various KM methods that can and in some cases are being incorporated at research institutions.
  • Where has all my experts gone? – KM in Human Resources and Talent Management: Chapter 6 – When it comes to talent management KM can play a critical role in ensuring the knowledge assets are captured and made available to the enterprise. KM in talent management when applied holistically involves capturing and sharing employee knowledge from onboarding to exit interview.
  • Sound the Alarm! – KM in Emergency and Disaster Preparedness: Chapter 7  – Emergency and disaster preparedness is enhanced through the incorporation of knowledge management. Putting the right knowledge in the right context at the right time in the hands of First Responders could be the difference in saving lives and preventing casualties. It is important to begin with a comprehensive KM strategy in order to establishing a plan to deliver the knowledge in a timely manner.
  • Happily Ever After – KM in Mergers and Acquisitions: Chapter 8 – When organizations merge or are acquired there is a level of uncertainty both from a macro (organization) level and from a micro (employee) level. Applying KM to mergers and acquisitions will enable the organization to know what knowledge is important to retain, who those knowledge holders are, what are the knowledge gaps and how to quantify the knowledge of the organization. From an employee standpoint having the organization share knowledge about the pending transaction as well as incentify employees to share what they know and to assist employees in transitioning (within the new organization or to a new organization) will go a long way to ensure a smooth M&A transaction.
  • Is there a Doctor in the house? – KM in Healthcare: Chapter 9 – Healthcare has become focused on the individual. As the healthcare community moves to electronic record keeping and capturing patient information at the point of initial interaction; having accurate knowledge about that patient as well as having the patient knowledgeable about his/her own health is essential to the success of caring for that patient. KM is an essential ingredient for healthcare success, especially in the areas of drug interaction analysis, sharing of patient diagnosis between hospitals and doctors, and furthering the development of healthcare informatics.
  • Show me the Money! – KM in Financial Services: Chapter 10 – Knowledge Management in the financial services sector centers on being able to attract, serve and retain customers. By delivering the tools to customers that provide knowledge in order to make sound financial decisions is at the heart of what KM will provide. In order to bring innovative financial services and products to the marketplace and have an understanding of how it will best serve and benefit the customer; putting specific knowledge at the fingertips of employees serving the customer will also be critical component of what KM will bring.
  • Are you in Good Hands? – KM in Insurance Industry: Chapter 11 – In this chapter you will learn how KM in the insurance industry is used to communicate knowledge to customers, agents and customer contact centers while providing mechanisms for employees to share, capture and catalog knowledge. KM in the insurance industry will provide the knowledge to (among other things), complete applications, bind insurance, and service a claim.
  • Sign Right Here! – KM in the Legal Profession: Chapter 12 – In this chapter an examination of how KM can/should be used to enhance the management of a law firm and execute on client engagements will be presented. KM in law firms is primarily executed through the building and fostering communities of practice around practice specialties. This enables legal representatives to respond to a situation with the right expertise, equipped with the right knowledge to resolve a legal matter.
  • Get That Knowledge! – Knowledge Management Education: Chapter 13 – This chapter examines the state of knowledge management education. This examination includes KM certification programs, KM curriculum at institutions of higher learning, as well as KM education policies, procedures and future direction of KM education. In addition this chapter will present specific criteria to consider when selecting a KM education option.
  • Big Knowledge! KM in Big Data: Chapter 14 – In this chapter an examination of how KM can and should be used to gain knowledge from your Big Data resources will be presented. How KM will be used on Big Data to provide a rich structure to enable decisions to be made on a multitude and variety of data is the essence of this examination. Along with specific analysis of the various types of data and KM methods for examining this data, a detailed understanding of KM’s impact on Big Data can be realized.
  • What have you done for the War Fighter Today? – KM in the Military: Chapter 15  – There is a rich history when it comes to KM in the Military. An examination of how KM in the military is being used with special attention to such events as Base Realignment and Closures (BRAC) will be examined. In addition a look at the various branches of the military (Army, Air Force, and Navy) and their KM Strategies, KM systems and KM methods are presented.
  • Drinking the KM-Kool-Aid: Knowledge Management Adoption: Chapter 16 -Adoption of KM programs, policies, methods, and systems, is a challenge for all organizations. This chapter is all about adoption! If your organization does not adopt its KM principles, practices, processes, procedures or systems that deliver KM they may be recognized as a failure. This chapter will present specific guidance on how to improve KM adoption and how to position your KM initiatives for success.
  • Failure is not an option! – Why KM Projects Fail: Chapter 17 – With lofty promises come unrealized results. Knowledge Management gained widespread popularity in the 90’s, however many KM initiatives failed and this popularity has tapered quite a bit. Since the mid 2000’s a renaissance of KM began to occur, some disparate KM success started to be achieve (call centers, research, human resources, military ) and KM is now considered as a discipline to use as a competitive advantage. Although KM is being used with some success in this new knowledge economy, many KM initiatives still fail. This chapter details the factors that contribute to KM initiatives failing as well as measures to adhere to in order to achieve KM success.

Included in this publication is an in-depth synopsis of each chapter and an overall introduction to the book in chapter 1. The book concludes with chapter 18, which offers a summary of the book and insight on what’s next for knowledge management.

For those individuals and organizations who have purchased my book I would like to thank you and invite you to ask me questions about the material covered in the book and/or any KM questions that are on your mind.

Nov 302015

Chapter 9 - Figure 2 - Model for KM in Healthcare

Healthcare is a knowledge intensive business. Making the best use of knowledge within any healthcare provider organization (hospital, clinic, pharmacy, physician private practice, etc.) is essential for optimal patient care as well as cutting and/or streamlining costs. Knowledge Management (KM) in healthcare is about sharing know-how through collaboration and integration of systems to enable access to knowledge. Applying knowledge sharing and collaboration to healthcare would include sharing medical research, giving visibility to patient decisions, and collaboration between physicians and healthcare provider organizations. Collaborative work environments will bring more effective communication and more physician responsiveness to patients.

Healthcare is also a massive industry, and every healthcare provider organization faces challenges where incorporating knowledge management would be beneficial. The processes and systems that enable the delivery and management of healthcare services to patients are faced with the prospect of failing to prevent (and can indirectly or directly cause) suffering and in some cases death to the various patients it serves. It is for this reason that knowledge management is attracting much attention from the industry as a whole. However, it is now time that the healthcare industry start to implement KM and begin realizing the benefits that it can provide.

KM is a particularly complex issue for health organizations. The potential benefits knowledge-management implementation could bring are enormous. Some of these benefits include: better outcomes for patients, cost reduction, enhanced job flexibility, and improved responsiveness to patients’ needs and changing lifestyles and expectations and ensure more effective communication, leading to focused and (hopefully) seamless care interventions and a better patient experience.

In realizing these benefits it is understood that healthcare delivery is a knowledge driven process and KM provides the opportunity to incorporate knowledge management practices to improve the various healthcare processes.

To leverage knowledge management in the appropriate way to address the complex and process nature of healthcare, healthcare organizations should adopt a broad strategy to capture, communicate and apply explicit and tacit knowledge throughout the healthcare delivery process.

Healthcare Delivery Process

Delivery of healthcare is a complex endeavor. It includes primary organizations for healthcare delivery such as healthcare providers having inter-organizational relationships with other players (i.e., Blue Cross/Blue Shield and its member organizations, physician and hospital affiliations) to provide a foundation. The increasing cost of healthcare is putting pressure on access and quality of healthcare delivery and this is calling for increased accountability, because of high rates of medical errors, and globalization which leads to demands of higher standards of quality, are also putting pressures on healthcare delivery organizations.

The healthcare delivery process includes the following areas Patient Intake, Data Collection, Decision Support, Diagnosis and Treatment, and Patient Closeout. Each of these areas (depending on medical organization) have more complex processes, procedures and systems that enable them to integrate and function together. Below provides more details of each of the areas that comprise the healthcare delivery process:

Patient Intake Process: Due to the increase in patient demand partially caused by health reform initiatives that focus on broadening patient access to insurance, many medical practices are experiencing an increase in new patient enrollment. Whenever new patients use the services of a hospital or physician practice, they must complete forms that list their contact information, medical history, insurance information, and acknowledgement of various HIPAA regulations.

The patient intake process is the first opportunity to capture knowledge about the patient and his/her condition at the time of arrival at the healthcare facility. At this point the patient information is captured, along with method of payment, medical history and current vital condition. All of this data is transitioned to the facilities database. This presents an opportunity for the data to be shared, an opportunity for information to be processed from the data, and knowledge to be acquired from the information.

Data Collection: At this point of the process all the data that was taken during the intake process is collected and sent to the healthcare facilities’ database. The collection of healthcare data involves a diverse set of public and private data collection systems, including health surveys, administrative enrollment and billing records, and medical records, used by various entities, including hospitals, clinics, physicians, and health plans. This suggest the potential of each entity to contribute data, information and knowledge on patients or enrollees. As it stands now a fragmentation of data flow occurs because of these silos of data collection. One way to increase the flow of data, information and knowledge is to integrate them with data from other sources. However, it should be noted that a substantial fraction of the U.S. population does not have a regular relationship with a provider who integrates their care.

Decision Support System: This area of the healthcare delivery process involves integrating the Clinical Decision Support Systems (CDSS). The CDSS will enable the standardization and sharing of clinical best practices and protocols with staff, patients, and partners on demand, anywhere, and on any device. Physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals use a CDSS to prepare a diagnosis and to review the diagnosis as a means of improving the final result. Data Mining (which will be examined later in this chapter) is conducted to examine the patient’s medical history in conjunction with relevant clinical research. Such analysis will provide the necessary knowledge to help predict potential events, which can range from drug interactions to disease symptoms. Some physicians may use a combination of a CDSS and their professional experience to determine the best course of care for a patient.

There are two main types of clinical decision support systems. One type of CDSS, which uses a knowledgebase (expert system), which applies rules to patient data using an inference engine and displays the results to the end user. Systems without a knowledge base, on the other hand, rely on machine learning to analyze clinical data. The challenge here is that a CDSS to be most effective it must be integrated with the healthcare organizations clinical workflow, which is often very complex. If a CDSS is a standalone system it will lack the interoperability needed to provide the knowledge necessary for healthcare professions to make a good determine of the best course of care for a patient.

However, the sheer number of clinical research and medical trials being published on an ongoing basis makes it difficult to incorporate the resulting data (Big Data). Additionally, incorporating Big Data into existing systems could causes a significant increase in infrastructure and maintenance.

Diagnosis and Treatment: Making a diagnosis is a very complex process, which includes cognitive tasks that involves both logical reasoning and pattern recognition. Although the process happens largely at an unconscious level, there are two essential steps where knowledge can be captured and applied.

In the first step, the healthcare professional will enumerate the diagnostic possibilities and estimate their relative likelihood. Experienced clinicians often group the findings into meaningful clusters and summarizes in brief phrases about the symptom, body location, or organ system involved.

In the second step in the diagnostic process, healthcare professional would incorporate new data, information and/or knowledge to change the relative probabilities, rule out some of the possibilities, and ultimately, choose the most likely diagnosis. For each diagnostic possibility, the additional knowledge increases or decreases its likelihood. At this point the diagnosis and treatment is rendered by the healthcare professional and the patient records are updated.

Patient Closeout/Patient Discharge: In the case of a simple patient closeout from a routine/scheduled physician visit or simple visit to the local clinic, the patient receives medication (if applicable), sets follow up appointments if necessary and finalized payment arrangements and the patient records are updated. However if you have had a hospital stay the discharge process can be quite involved. In the case of a discharge a set series of tasks must occur prior to discharging a patient. These tasks include examination and sign-off by appropriate providers and patient education. For each patient, the time of discharge and the tasks that need to be performed will be provided one day ahead of time. This allows for everyone involved in the discharge to self-organize on the day of discharge to get the work done within the window necessary to meet the scheduled discharge time (Institute for Health Improvement, 2015). At the conclusion of the discharge, patients receive information and instructions for continued care and follow up, in addition all patient records should be updated.

The following was an excerpt from my latest book: Knowledge Management in Practice