Preparing healthcare delivery organizations for managing computable knowledge

Julia Adler-Milstein, Paige Nong, Charles P. Friedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Introduction: The growth of data science has led to an explosion in new knowledge alongside various approaches to representing and sharing biomedical knowledge in computable form. These changes have not been matched by an understanding of what healthcare delivery organizations need to do to adapt and continuously deploy computable knowledge. It is therefore important to begin to conceptualize such changes in order to facilitate routine and systematic application of knowledge that improves the health of individuals and populations. Methods: An AHRQ-funded conference convened a group of experts from a range of fields to analyze the current state of knowledge management in healthcare delivery organizations and describe how it needs to evolve to enable computable knowledge management. Presentations and discussions were recorded and analyzed by the author team to identify foundational concepts and new domains of healthcare delivery organization knowledge management capabilities. Results: Three foundational concepts include 1) the current state of knowledge management in healthcare delivery organizations relies on an outdated biomedical library model, and only a small number of organizations have developed enterprise-scale knowledge management approaches that “push” knowledge in computable form to frontline decisions, 2) the concept of Learning Health Systems creates an imperative for scalable computable knowledge management approaches, and 3) the ability to represent data science discoveries in computable form that is FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable) is fundamental to spread knowledge at scale. For healthcare delivery organizations to engage with computable knowledge management at scale, they will need new organizational capabilities across three domains: policies and processes, technology, and people. Examples of specific capabilities were developed. Conclusions: Healthcare delivery organizations need to substantially scale up and retool their knowledge management approaches in order to benefit from computable biomedical knowledge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere10070
JournalLearning Health Systems
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Authors. Learning Health Systems published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of the University of Michigan


  • healthcare delivery
  • knowledge management
  • organizational competencies


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