A KM perspective on implementing an electronic patient record within an NHS hospital

S. McCracken, J. Edwards

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputConference publication


The Electronic Patient Record (EPR) is being developed by many hospitals in the UK and across the globe. We class an EPR system as a type of Knowledge Management System (KMS), in that it is a technological tool developed to support the process of knowledge management (KM). Healthcare organisations aim to use these systems to provide a vehicle for more informed and improved clinical decision making thereby delivering reduced errors and risks, enhanced quality and consequently offering enhanced patient safety. Finding an effective way for a healthcare organisation to practically implement these systems is essential. In this study we use the concept of the business process approach to KM as a theoretical lens to analyse and explore how a large NHS teaching hospital developed, executed and practically implemented an EPR system. This theory advocates the importance of taking into account all organizational activities - the business processes - in considering any KM initiatives. Approaching KM through business processes allows for a more holistic view of the requirements across a process: emphasis is placed on how particular activities are performed, how they are structured and what knowledge demanded and not just supplied across each process. This falls in line with the increased emphasis in healthcare on patient-centred approaches to care delivery. We have found in previous research that hospitals are happy with the delivery of patient care being referred to as their 'business'. A qualitative study was conducted over a two and half year period with data collected from semi-structured interviews with eight members of the strategic management team, 12 clinical users and 20 patients in addition to non- participant observation of meetings and documentary data. We believe that the inclusion of patients within the study may well be the first time this has been done in examining the implementation of a KMS. The theoretical propositions strategy was used as the overarching approach for data analysis. Here Initial theoretical research themes and propositions were used to help shape and organise the case study analysis. This paper will present preliminary findings about the hospital's business strategy and its links to the KMS strategy and process.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the European Conference on Knowledge Management : ECKM
PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)978-1-908272-63-8
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sept 2012
Event13th European Conference on Knowledge Management - Cartagena, Spain
Duration: 6 Sept 20127 Sept 2012


Conference13th European Conference on Knowledge Management
Abbreviated titleECKM 2012


  • health
  • hospitals
  • knowledge management
  • knowledge management systems


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