This study aims to explore how knowledge management (KM) influences the intellectual capital (IC) of organizations operating in health care and how IC and knowledge-sharing (KS) can contribute to the achievement of sustainable development in health systems. Notably, this study focuses on telemedicine, investigating how relational capital contributes to KS in the context of remote care services.
To comply with the paper’s aim, the authors use a qualitative research method based on a polar case study suitable for IC in health-care studies. More precisely, this study analyzes a nonprofit organization that, for over 15 years, has offered a free multispecialist teleconsultation service to answer medical questions from the most disadvantaged places in the world.
The findings show that the KM significantly contributes to the IC of organizations. Indeed, it improves the data management and transmission system, it increases performance flexibility in times of resource scarcity without compromising business objectives and it can attract new human resources even when not motivated by selfish goals (volunteer physicians).
This research contributes to studies on IC in health care by focusing on the contribution of telemedicine to the creation of IC. In particular, this work emphasizes the ability of telemedicine to develop and share knowledge in disadvantaged areas of the world. Moreover, in the current context, still strongly permeated by the health emergency generated by the pandemic and recently by the war in Eastern Europe, the importance of such assistance and diagnosis grows.
The conclusions the research findings lead may guide policymakers toward a policy supporting telemedicine. It would alleviate general health-care costs and completely revolutionize light health care’s role. Moreover, reducing socioeconomic distances, improving access to care and applying innovative technologies for sharing outcomes foster balanced socioeconomic development and knowledge dissemination.
This research has shown how telemedicine represents a new successful business model even in times of crisis. The organizational model makes it possible to offer cutting-edge specialized care, contain costs, easily reach disadvantaged areas of the planet, strengthen the skills and autonomy of the most backward countries through a process of KS and push the structures operating there to interact with those in advanced countries.
Paoloni, P., Cosentino, A., Arduini, S. and Manzo, M. (2022), "Intellectual capital and knowledge management for overcoming social and economic barriers in the health-care sector", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JKM-05-2022-0349
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