Using Blueprints to promote interorganizational knowledge transfer in digital health initiatives—a qualitative exploration of a national change program in English hospitals

Robin Williams, Aziz Sheikh, Bryony Dean Franklin, Marta Krasuska, Hung Nguyen, Susan Hinder, Wendy Lane, Hajar Mozaffar, Kathy Mason, Sally Eason, Henry W.W. Potts, Kathrin M. Cresswell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) Programme is a national attempt to accelerate digital maturity in healthcare providers through promoting knowledge transfer across the English National Health Service (NHS). ‘Blueprints’ - documents capturing implementation experience - were intended to facilitate this knowledge transfer.
Aims: To explore how Blueprints have been conceptualised, produced, and used to promote inter-organisational knowledge transfer across the NHS.
Methods: We undertook an independent national qualitative evaluation of the GDE Programme. This involved collecting data using semi-structured interviews with implementation staff and clinical leaders in provider organisations, non-participant observation of meetings, and key documents. We also attended a range of national meetings and conferences, interviewed national programme managers, and analysed a range of policy documents. Our analysis drew on sociotechnical principles, combining deductive and inductive methods.
Results: Data comprised 508 interviews, 163 observed meetings, and analysis of 325 documents. We found little evidence of Blueprints being adopted in the manner originally conceived by national programme managers. However, they proved effective in different ways to those planned. As well as providing a helpful initial guide to a topic, we found that Blueprints served as a method of identifying relevant expertise that paved the way for subsequent discussions and richer knowledge transfers amongst provider organisations. The primary value of Blueprinting therefore seemed to be its role as a networking tool. Members of different organisations came together in developing, applying and sustaining Blueprints through bilateral conversations, in some circumstances also fostering informal communities of practice.
Conclusions: Blueprints may be effective in facilitating knowledge transfer among healthcare organisations, but need to be accompanied by other evolving methods such as site visits and other networking activities to iteratively transfer knowledge and experience.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberocab020
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Medical Informatics Association
Early online date11 Mar 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Mar 2021

Keywords

  • blueprints
  • digital transformation
  • hospital
  • knowledge transformation
  • learning ecosystem

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