The state of the art in clinical knowledge management: an inventory of tools and techniques

Int J Med Inform. 2010 Jan;79(1):44-57. doi: 10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2009.09.003. Epub 2009 Oct 14.


Purpose: To explore the need for, and use of, high-quality, collaborative, clinical knowledge management (CKM) tools and techniques to manage clinical decision support (CDS) content.

Methods: In order to better understand the current state of the art in CKM, we developed a survey of potential CKM tools and techniques. We conducted an exploratory study by querying a convenience sample of respondents about their use of specific practices in CKM.

Results: The following tools and techniques should be priorities in organizations interested in developing successful computer-based provider order entry (CPOE) and CDS implementations: (1) a multidisciplinary team responsible for creating and maintaining the clinical content; (2) an external organizational repository of clinical content with web-based viewer that allows anyone in the organization to review it; (3) an online, collaborative, interactive, Internet-based tool to facilitate content development; (4) an enterprise-wide tool to maintain the controlled clinical terminology concepts. Even organizations that have been successfully using computer-based provider order entry with advanced clinical decision support features for well over 15 years are not using all of the CKM tools or practices that we identified.

Conclusions: If we are to further stimulate progress in the area of clinical decision support, we must continue to develop and refine our understanding and use of advanced CKM capabilities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical / organization & administration*
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Hospital Information Systems
  • Humans
  • Information Storage and Retrieval / methods*
  • Interdisciplinary Communication*
  • Internet
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized
  • Patient Care Team
  • Software
  • Terminology as Topic
  • United States
  • User-Computer Interface
  • Vocabulary, Controlled