Understanding the value of recording the evolution of best practices and capturing the nuances of applied methods, systems and techniques can make laboratories more efficient manner, quality driven and reliable.
Knowledge management in the laboratory system involves activities such as developing performance standards, establishing and maintaining appropriate practices and procedures, extracting and storing tacit knowledge from the organization’s workforce, and making use of appropriate technologies. To learn more about how to implement a knowledge management approach, review
Knowledge Management for Public Health Laboratories.
Lab Scientists on Knowledge Management
“Evolution can be positive and not so positive some times. When positive changes occur it’s smart to record it.” - Research scientist, New York State Department of Health-Wadsworth Center
“Every lab has implemented some form of Knowledge Management and the one that most labs would recognize is a standard operating procedure. Labs recognize the evolution of best practices by creating standard operations procedures that everyone knows how to reach and go to. They don’t recognize it as KM but they have systems to maintain and review those procedures.” - Former ID manager at the Minnesota State Laboratory
Benefits of Knowledge Management
Below are some of the benefits to laboratories of incorporating knowledge management concepts. Click on the concepts for more information.
Build prestige as a benefactor of mentorship
Intentionally capturing critical positive change and experiences and sharing this information in real time to others helps audiences identify laboratories as matter experts. As laboratories incorporate Knowledge Management in their daily activities, they enable their ability to build recognition as benefactors of mentorship.
Reduce waste, save time and increase income
Knowledge Management fosters productivity through the efficient use of resources. Having process and information organized saves time and increases productivity building trust in consumers and stakeholders; thus offering Laboratories leverage to obtain new or increase funding.
“Time is essential for a lab and KM can improve time use. What is the point of making a diagnosis if you can’t make it in a timely manner?” Research Scientist, New York State Department of Health-Wadsworth Center
Rapid response, prevention and early detection
Quality is critical for a Laboratory. A reliable and high quality laboratory leads prevention and early detection of disease. Knowledge Management helps Laboratories meet public needs by consistently providing high quality processes as well as delivery of results. It also guides the way in a time of crises, driving rapid response and best practice solutions that result in increasing quality of life and saving lives.
“When a Laboratory is doing testing on babies, like mine is, you need to have all the standards and processes organized to offer the quality and the response needed. If you are not prepared, you can miss a baby in the testing and we can’t afford to do that.”
Retired Laboratory Director of Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Public Health Laboratories
Innovation to address new threats and impact policy
Recording and sharing new and better paths in work, standards and process in all areas through Knowledge Management implementation takes Laboratories to a position to address questions in public health that can impact or change policy.
“When you are forming a work group, you are becoming a select group of people to share knowledge and to transform that knowledge. Extracting that knowledge to put it to use is what makes KM. If you are aware of it you can communicate it.” Director, Office of Organizational Development State Hygienic Laboratory at the University of Iowa