Effective Application of Knowledge Management in Evidence-Based Chinese Medicine: A Case Study
Chinese medicine (CM) practice, as a knowledge-based industry, has not embraced knowledge management (KM) techniques widely. However, KM may facilitate the adaptation and promotion of evidence-based CM. A KM framework was introduced to its activities in evidence-based CM through the development of a CM portal. A codification strategy was used to codify and store knowledge systematically in a database. Several approaches were developed and implemented to address specific needs for CM such as centralizing the information, encouraging collective efforts, promoting integration of explicit and tacit knowledge, and developing a flexible technology and support system. Following the established KM framework, the RMIT Chinese Medicine Portal (www.chinese-medicine.com.au) was built up with four major components: organizational knowledge, knowledge workers, KM processes and information technology. Knowledge on Chinese herbs was classified into core, advanced and innovative categories, which involved the development of the monograph template. A working group was organized including CM, pharmacology and information technology professionals to implement this proposal with following sequential development stages: knowledge creation/acquisition, storage/organization, distribution and application. User interface and web language were also defined and accomplished. This case study demonstrates the applicability of KM in evidence-based CM through a multidisciplinary collaboration, such as, an effective collaboration between CM and information technology. The study also shows the potential of KM application in other disciplines of complementary and alternative medicine.