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Improving hospital care: are learning organizations the answer?

Sophie Soklaridis (Innovation and Education Scholarship (RISE), Division of Psychotherapies, Humanities and Education Scholarship (PHES), Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Canada)

Journal of Health Organization and Management

ISSN: 1477-7266

Article publication date: 11 November 2014




Hospital leaders are being challenged to become more consumer-oriented, more interprofessional in their approach to care and more focused on outcome measures and continuous quality improvement. The concept of the learning organization could provide the conceptual framework necessary for understanding and addressing these various challenges in a systematic way. The paper aims to discuss these issues.


A scan of the literature reveals that this concept has been applied to hospitals and other health care institutions, but it is not known to what extent this concept has been linked to hospitals and with what outcomes. To bridge this gap, the question of whether learning organizations are the answer to improving hospital care needs to be considered. Hospitals are knowledge-intensive organizations in that there is a need for constant updating of the best available evidence and the latest medical techniques. It is widely acknowledged that learning may become the only sustainable competitive advantage for organizations, including hospitals.


With the increased demand for accountability for quality care, fiscal responsibility and positive patient outcomes, exploring hospitals as learning organizations is timely and highly relevant to senior hospital administrators responsible for integrating best practices, interprofessional care and quality improvement as a primary means of achieving these outcomes.


To date, there is a dearth of research on hospitals as learning organizations as it relates to improving hospital care.



Soklaridis, S. (2014), "Improving hospital care: are learning organizations the answer?", Journal of Health Organization and Management, Vol. 28 No. 6, pp. 830-838.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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