What is Knowledge Management for Health?

Knowledge management (KM) is an approach that supports generating, capturing, organizing and adapting knowledge, as well as making it accessible and usable for the intended target audience. Managers use KM is to deal with the mint bridesmaid dresses challenge of too much or too little information. KM also supports information sharing and collaboration, empowers individuals and groups to work more effectively, and improves business, policies, and practice, and ultimately health outcomes, in the case of KM for health.

In short, the goal of KM for health is to capture the right health information, and to deliver it at the right time, to the right people, using the right communication channels.

K4Health Knowledge Management Strategy

As a global leader in the KM community of international public health, K4Health has developed a framework that illustrates the project’s approach to KM, with a focus on putting research findings into practice. The elements of our KM cycle facilitate collaboration and learning, inform policy and advocacy, enhance programs, practice and research, and enhance health training and education programs—all of which contribute to improved family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH) outcomes.

The heart of K4Health’s strategy is in responding to the FP/RH information needs of health professionals around the world, and meeting those needs by reaching them with information that is easy to find and easy to use. We start by identifying their needs through assessments in the countries we work to identify information gaps. We then forge relationships with local FP/RH organizations, strengthen their KM capacity, and provide the technical assistance required to capture, organize, adapt, and disseminate FP/RH information in the most useful formats and through the most appropriate communication channels.  This KM strategy contributes to increased use of evidenced-based information in programs and practice.

Our Knowledge Management Activities

K4Health helps to increase the pace of moving innovation from research to practice by providing stakeholders with state-of-the-art tools and resources through our integrated KM strategy. 

1.       Conduct Audience Research

K4Health uses a three-pronged approach to conduct audience research, entailing extensive literature reviews on health information needs, global online surveys, and qualitative needs assessments in countries to drive the development of our knowledge management programs and activities. We share the results of our in-country audience research globally through our website and through other mechanisms. K4Health also rigorously monitors and evaluates its programs and activities to ensure that our audience needs are continuously met.

2.       Capture and Organize Knowledge

For over 30 years, K4Health has compiled and maintained POPLINE, the world’s largest database of information on family planning and reproductive health. An international resource, POPLINE helps program managers, policy makers, and service providers gain access to scientific articles, reports, books, and unpublished documents. We are currently developing similar databases:  HIVLine and MalariaLine.

K4Health also hosts Photoshare, a leading editorial photography collection showcasing international health programs in action and the people they serve. The collection includes over 17,000 images available free-of-charge for nonprofit educational use.

In addition, we offer Gateways to online information on HIV/AIDS, FP/RH, and malaria. The HIV/AIDS, RH, and Malaria Gateways provide users the ability to search a number of relevant and quality websites from one location online, eliminating the need to conduct extensive searches on multiple sites. 

3.       Synthesize Knowledge

K4Health facilitates the synthesis of knowledge by applying our expertise in assessment, analysis, and interpretive writing to provide information in actionable formats such as fact sheets, summaries, policy briefs, distance learning modules, and mobile messages. In collaboration with a range of partner organizations from around the world, K4Health organizes and disseminates these and other high-quality resources from various international health organizations in electronic libraries called eToolkits, using our innovative eToolkit Application. To reach audiences with limited or no Internet access, K4Health disseminates eToolkits and eLearning courses on flash drives and CD-ROMs.

4.       Foster Dynamic Knowledge Exchange and Learning

Drawing on our long history of facilitating more than 20 online discussions involving more than 7,600 people from 200 countries, K4Health sponsors free global, regional, and country-level eForums where health professionals connect with and learn from each other virtually on different topics identified through our audience research. In addition, K4Health supports virtual networks, communities of practice, and technical working groups for health professionals. K4Health also provides free online and offline eLearning courses on a variety of health topics to support the continuous learning of health professionals.

5.       Promote Knowledge Adaptation and Use

Using traditional and emerging technologies and communication channels, K4Health develops relationships with partners in-country to reach the greatest number of health professionals with our innovative products and services. K4Health’s monthly eNewsletter highlights country experiences and project-related news.

Together, these five key elements of our KM cycle will facilitate collaboration and learning, inform the policy and advocacy environment, and enhance programs, practice, training and research. This, in turn, contributes to improved demand, access, quality, and use of FP/RH programs, and ultimately improves FP/RH outcomes.

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