Continue the conversation: building a network dedicated to a knowledge-enabled NHS

Connecting with others – we enthuse constantly about how productive it is and why we should keep the conversations going. I relish every opportunity to talk about knowledge sharing and it was great to get the chance to talk to knowledge experts about how KM has evolved over the past two decades in the NHS for the recently published KM report : ‘Building a Knowledge Enabled NHS for the Future’ access here. Their insight into the successes and challenges of developing a knowledge sharing culture in the NHS provided valuable ‘lessons learned’ and informed recommendations for a knowledge enabled NHS now and for the future.

This is just the starting point – it will need enthusiastic champions to make the recommendations a reality and to transform knowledge sharing in the NHS. There is an opportunity to build these connections into a network and carry on the conversation; to identify which of the recommendations resonate most and to develop a plan to implement them locally, regionally and nationally and to share best practice and work from the basis of a shared understanding of what works in KM in the NHS.

Networks are the best way to ensure that the “structured partnerships” advocated in the Five Year Forward View become a reality. A knowledge enabled NHS will optimise knowledge sharing and the drive to “share best practice” recommended in the Rose Review.

Successful healthcare improvement networks have been well-documented, and the essential components of a successful network defined. One of the most important requirements is a compelling shared purpose which resonates with all the network participants and is aligned with the core business goals of the organisation or system. Networks rely on collaboration, and there need to be opportunities for members to contribute to, as well as benefitting from the work of the network.

Although networks are built on peer-to-peer sharing, it is important to have several key players in place: an active facilitator and leader of the network, to nurture the connections; a supportive sponsor to highlight the work of the network to the rest of the organisation; and a core group of participants, often an existing informal network, to establish and build on the activity of the network.

There is an opportunity here to build on the recommendations of the KM report, which are already aligned with the business goals specified in the Five Year Forward View and the strategic aims of the Rose Review. To develop the existing network of KM enthusiasts who contributed to the KM Report and to extend it to include others passionate about utilising knowledge approaches to develop a knowledge enabled NHS.

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