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Sharing Knowledge for Health Care

This article(1) is one of seven articles in the ‘Sharing Medicine’ series published in JAMA Internal Medicine. The series scope is best described by its editor, Dr Richard Lehman, who states that the articles “summarise how physicians currently share knowledge, skills, and experiences among ourselves as a professional community and with the patients we serve; and in each article the authors suggest some ways in which we might do this better.”(2)

This article focusses on the need to efficiently create and share accurate and useful knowledge. This is central to effective patient care, yet current healthcare knowledge generation and dissemination systems are archaic, inefficient, and duplicative. This makes it difficult for clinicians to easily access reliable knowledge which answers the questions relevant to their patients and hampers their communication and decision-making with patients.

The article overviews some of the challenges and problems with current knowledge sharing systems, initiatives underway, and those still needed. The main topics overviewed include: using patient priorities and existing research to inform research priorities; using patient-meaningful and standardised outcomes; improving the usefulness, transparency and efficiency of systematic review production; and transitioning from clinical guideline recommendations to shared decision making tools.

  1. Hoffmann, T., & Straus, S. Sharing knowledge for healthcare. JAMA Internal Medicine, 2017;177:1243-1244.
  2. Lehman, R. Sharing as the future of medicine. JAMA Internal Medicine, 2017; 177: 1237-1238.