Being a knowledge driven process, healthcare delivery provides opportunity to incorporate knowledge management practices to improve processes. But it has also been noted that knowledge management is systematically more complex in healthcare and minimal research exist to guide academic and organizational stakeholders. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the application and impact of knowledge management practices in healthcare delivery. The paper is conceptual in its nature and aims to propose a contingency‑based framework to drive further empirical research. The paper is primarily based on a literature review of the healthcare knowledge management and associated information sciences research streams. The fundamental research questions are: ‘‘what and how do the various knowledge management practices affect the performance of healthcare delivery?’’ and ‘‘what are the contingent and contextual factors that needs to be considered when exploring the relationship between knowledge management practices and performance of healthcare delivery?’’ We first discuss facets of performance in healthcare delivery but thereafter focus on the technical and interpersonal care aspects of healthcare delivery. We investigate knowledge management practices in the areas of (i) knowledge acquisition and sharing, (ii) knowledge assimilation and application. In our paper we explore how the different knowledge management practices affect the performance of healthcare delivery through technical and interpersonal care. Thereafter we explore the factors of physician characteristic, ailment characteristics, organizational IT infrastructure and organization processes, on which the conceptual framework will be contingent on. We thereafter evaluate the conceptual framework with a case study. From an academic perspective our paper identifies some key knowledge management practices and explores their linkages with technical and interpersonal care, while from a practical point of view it provides implications for administrators and practitioners in healthcare delivery on the management of contingency factors so that the knowledge management practices can be properly implemented.
Keywords: healthcare knowledge management, healthcare delivery performance, electronic medical records, clinical decision support, evidence based medicine