Systems Thinking: Analysis of Electronic Patient Records Implementation and Knowledge Transfer Practice in the BP Trust, UK

Firas Masri, Trevor Wood-Harper, Peter Kawalek

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This paper aims to enlighten a new approach to study the Knowledge Transfer (KT) through Systems Thinking (ST) in relation with the implementation of Knowledge Management System (KMS) at the practice of the healthcare. Thus, integration between the KT and ST aims to open a door for a new literature about Knowledge Management theory in the healthcare context. This paper used many key philosophical concepts drawn from the ST theory and KT to investigate deeper understanding of the issues around KMS implementation practically in the context of the hospitals. In favour of these objectives, this paper conducted a case study on the implementation of the Electronic Patient Record (EPR) at BP Trust in the UK. Base on the business case of the project, EPR is perceived as a representative of KMS initiative project in the Trust.The paper reviewed the literature on ST, KM, and KT to proposal of new KT approach. In the fieldwork, qualitative approach and case study was conducted in order to collect empirical data through a series of in-depth, interviews with different stakeholders, including management board, IT specialists and healthcare professionals as actual users. In order to have a comprehensive understanding of the case, and to validate the findings, direct observation was used and documents related to implementation were reviewed. The observation was taken place in the A&E department to see the actual interaction between the people and technology, and to understand the EPR in practice. The primary and secondary data were analysed by using template analysis method and approach.The case study considers that ST provides beneficial understanding(s) alongside with the decision and sense making for implementing EPR project. The case study shows that understanding KT practice contributes to the integration of complex nature of healthcare practice. Furthermore, this paper argued that implementing EPR requires not only a particular intellectual conceptualization, but rather learning through reflection on the actual practice. Learning by doing and studying KT practice allows an implementation to become more adaptive and responsive along with day to day practice and contingencies. Thus, the findings outline for the decision makers, many important aspects to be considered, such as distributed leadership, flexibility, and practice analysis and end-user involvement.This paper is limited on single case study, and more comparative case studies in complex situation would help to improve the study model. Therefore, this study suggests doing more studies around communication technologies and strategies in relation with KT practice by testing more communications tools and methods in the healthcare and in other context(s).
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Pages (from-to)105-121
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Management and Applied Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2017


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