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Information and knowledge processes as a knowledge management framework in health care: Towards shared decision making?

Helena Känsäkoski (Information Studies Programme, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 10 July 2017




Effective knowledge management (KM) enables the health care organisations to reach their goals. In modern health care the empowered patients are active partners, whose preferences, needs and values should be taken into account. Shared decision making (SDM) aims at involving the patient and the health professionals as equal partners in care. The purpose of this paper is to present a new model of health care information and knowledge processes (IKPs) as a KM framework. The aim is to scrutinise what types of knowing can be identified the IKPs and how do the knowledge processes support SDM. The role of patients in the IKPs is discussed.


The qualitative case study was conducted in two Finnish university hospital districts in integrated care pathways of childhood obesity. In total, 30 professionals and three mothers and children were interviewed 2009-2011 and the findings were supported with a survey (n=13) and document material.


The findings indicate that the patients and families involvement in the IKPs is modest. This implies that SDM is not completely fulfilled which may affect the families commitment to positive lifestyle changes.

Research limitations/implications

The data of the patients and families were limited due to the challenges with recruitment.

Practical implications

The detailed IKP model enables the health organisations to scrutinise their own IKPs and to identify the shortages in order to change practices.


This paper presents a new model of health care KM which recognises the patients as active partners.



Känsäkoski, H. (2017), "Information and knowledge processes as a knowledge management framework in health care: Towards shared decision making?", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 73 No. 4, pp. 748-766.



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