Knowledge use and Sharing into a Medical Community of Practice; the Role of Virtual Agents (Knowbots) pp64-81
Knowledge‑oriented organizations are bricks for the knowledge‑based society construction. Building knowledge‑based society and economy suppose challenging transition processes from the classical structure of an organization to new organizational forms that help to fill the gap between actual society and the future knowledge‑based society and economy. This transition generates new issues in knowledge creation and sharing processes, related to the particularities of the new organizational forms. Therefore, in the last few years, our researches are oriented to developing and testing a number of forms of organization designed to facilitate an efficient and effective transition toward the knowledge‑based society, like communities of practice, (virtual) networks of professionals or knowledge ecosystems (KE). Under this general frame, this paper presents the results of our research aiming to capture the necessary changes that a medical organization specialized in rehabilitation (the National Institute of Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine from Bucharest, Romania ‑ INRMFB) has to undertake for converting its classical structure into a new knowledge‑oriented one, possible and easily to being integrated into a Virtual Network for Home Health Rehabilitation of the impaired people – the meta goal of our research in recent years. Specifically, within its five sections, the paper outlines: 1. An introduction in the macro and micro‑level empirical setting in which the study is carried out; 2. The methodological approach based on Social Network Analysis (SNA). Although quit often used in the medical field, as we will see in the second section of the paper, the SNA methods and models aren’t used yet in the particular area of health rehabilitation; 3. The objectives of the empirical study that can be summarized as follows: Mapping of the knowledge flows & needs in the target community of practice. The aim of this step is to produce an accurate picture of the knowledge flows that the target community identified at the INRMFB actually enacts in the accomplishment of its organizational objectives. Analysis & Diagnosis: Identification of critical aspects and areas of improvements (e.g. knowledge needs, knowledge bottlenecks, structural determinants of inefficiency or of poor performance). Design: definition of the functional specifications for redesigning the agents, network and of the functionalities of Knowbots. 4. The survey we have designed for data collection. According with the particularities of the macro and micro‑level in which our study is carried out, we have designed a survey that will help us both for diagnosing the knowledge‑sharing‑structure of INRMFB, and for finding adequate solutions for potential critical aspects identified in this medical facility.; 5. A set of conclusions and recommendations for the new knowledge‑oriented organizational structure to be created within the INRMFB. Alongside with performing SNA in the health rehabilitation field, an important output of our study is to find answer to the following questions: Cans the classical organizational structure of the INRMFB be transformed into a knowledge‑based one, by reengineering the knowledge flows and agent’s roles? If and where within the actual structure a virtual knowledge agent (knowbot) can and should be integrated? Our paper is a consequent continuation of our work in the KE area, contributing to the completion of an integrate vision over the role of the KM techniques, human and virtual agents in the emerging of knowledge‑based society. It presents a work still in progress, the final results of our study going to be presented within the ECKM2011 conference.
Keywords: community of practice, healthcare knowledge ecosystems, social network analysis, knowledge agent, Knowbot, collective learning, knowledge-based organization.
Knowledge Management for Virtual Reality Applications in a Home Rehabilitation Virtual Network pp477-486
This paper describes the reference architecture to support a multi‑user virtual healthcare network that enables rehabilitation and social reintegration of people with disabilities. The network, based on a virtual collaborative environment supported by the www, includes collaboration and interpersonal communication devices and data collection mechanisms that provide knowledge management for the system and effectiveness evaluation. The Virtual Network (VN) allows the rehabilitation patients spread in geographically dispersed areas, a very frequent reality in the considered context, to access a distributed virtual platform able to offer communication and shared knowledge with doctors, nurses, therapists, social workers and other people involved in the process of rehabilitation. VN solutions allow building a virtual shared space, a context of understanding and knowledge where the "real world" knowledge affects virtual interaction and virtual interaction modifies "real world" therapies. The main aim of the VN is to achieve a higher quality of life for the people with disabilities and, in the long term, from the economic point of view, to produce important savingsprofits and bring about feasible ways to improvingre‑organizing health care services. The present paper illustrates our team's first steps in building such a network in Romania. The first section establishes the link between the virtual reality and the medical rehabilitation as an important branch of the healthcare system. Several applications in the field are presented here. The second section focuses on two main aspects: on the one hand, the current Romanian reality of medical rehabilitation and, on the other hand, the existing possibilities to build a VN for rehabilitation as a solution to the main problems Romania has in this field. The third section is a technical preamble to the knowledge sharing process particularized for a healthcare VN in section number four. The last part of the paper includes both pro and cons arguments for the designing of a VN as a solution to the discrepancy between the demand and the real current hospitals' supply of medical rehabilitation in Romania.
Keywords: home rehabilitation, virtual reality, virtual healthcare network, virtual organization, knowledge sharing models, information broker agent, personal healthcare agent
The concept of Knowledge Ecosystem (KE) is used to define a community of practice that builds knowledge in a bottom‑up, networked and dynamic fashion. These features define a new kind of digital ecosystem that is domain specific and operate in an open (virtual or real) world. The openness is an ideal situation that needs to apply the unified standards, for instance the Semantic Web Standards and Rules and Web 3.0 that help the building, growth, sharing and forgetting of knowledge across the Knowledge Ecosystems. What makes the KE different from the "classic" view upon the digital ecosystem is an active and dynamic process that involves: the creation of knowledge; the intentional elicitation of knowledge; the ability of share knowledge across the entities; and the possibility to depreciate and forget knowledge. How does the dynamic nature of knowledge influence the nature of knowledge ecosystems? What are the general principles that can be applied to design the sound and enduring knowledge ecosystems? These are some of the questions will try to get answers in our paper work. First of all, we will show that the dynamic evolution of knowledge and the dynamic character of the flows of knowledge are essential for the transition from digital ecosystems to knowledge ecosystems. Having a static collection of pieces of knowledge, processing them and placing them in a digital ecosystem are not really enough for this one to becomes a knowledge ecosystem. Continuous knowledge creation is responsible for transforming the digital ecosystem in a knowledge one. The process of dynamic knowledge building occurs when internal (tacit) knowledge becomes external (explicit). The continuously feedbacks that operate between internal and external knowledge are producing new knowledge among entities and create the energy and permanent innovation that characterizes a knowledge ecosystem. In the second part of the paper we have draw some general principles of accelerating the appearance of new knowledge ecosystems, while in the third section we define the main features of the knowledge healthcare ecosystem design for the home rehabilitation of people with motor disabilities. In order to do so, we are going to extract from these general principles the specific in‑rules that make the agents involved in home health rehabilitation act as a knowledge ecosystem. Alongside the theoretical approach to our paper (that refers to the principles' establishing), there is also the practical one. We conclude the paper work with some remarks on the KE's role and importance in healthcare, and in particular in home rehabilitation field.
Keywords: digital ecosystem, healthcare knowledge ecosystem, dynamic knowledge, flows of knowledge, home health rehabilitation, virtual network for home health rehabilitation