Knowledge management and health

WHO knowledge management strategy

Executive summary and strategic directions

Executive summary

This is a challenging time for global public health and particularly for the fragile health of populations in developing countries. However, the increasing resources for international health aid and growing demand to improve health services offer an opportunity to foster health equity in countries most in need. Many of the solutions to health problems of the poor exist, but are not applied, leading to what is called the "know-do" gap: the gap between what is known and what is done in practice. The mission of the Global WHO Knowledge Management (KM) team is to bridge the know-do gap in global health by fostering an environment that encourages the creation, sharing, and effective application of knowledge to improve health.

The KM strategy focuses on national policy makers, WHO programmes, and health professionals. The objectives of the strategy lie in three main areas: strengthening country health systems through better knowledge management, establishing KM in public health, and enabling WHO to become a better learning Organization, through the following strategic directions:

Strategic directions

1. Improving access to the world's health information

Access to information and knowledge is inequitable, while information overload is widespread. WHO is promoting access to high-quality, relevant, targeted information products and services.

2. Translating knowledge into policy and action

Health inequalities persist despite known, effective interventions and steadily increasing investment in research. WHO is building evidence and capacity on KM approaches to address priority health needs in countries.

3. Sharing and reapplying experiential knowledge

Knowledge management methods and tools offer new opportunities for WHO and public health. WHO is providing guidance and facilitating the adoption of KM methods so that experience is reapplied and built upon in practice.

4. Leveraging e-Health in countries

Information and communication technologies offer great potential to improve health services and systems. As well as incorporating ICT in its technical work, WHO is supporting country health systems through advocating evidence-based policies, monitoring e-Health trends, identifying good practice, facilitating networks of expertise, promoting norms, standards, and the integration of ICT into health workforce training and practice.

5. Fostering an enabling environment

Creating an environment for the effective use of knowledge is vital to achieving WHO's mission. WHO is strengthening Organizational capacity, advocating adoption of KM in the field of public health, and improving capacity for implementing KM at country level.