How can managers in the hospital in the home units help to balance technology and physician-patient knowledge?

Int J Qual Health Care. 2011 Oct;23(5):600-9. doi: 10.1093/intqhc/mzr046. Epub 2011 Aug 2.


Background: With the passing of time, knowledge like other resources can become obsolete. Thus, people in a healthcare system need to update their knowledge in order to keep pace with the ongoing changes in their operational environment. Information technology continually provides a great amount of new knowledge which can lead to healthcare professionals becoming overloaded with knowledge. This overloading can be alleviated by a process of unlearning which enables the professional to retain just the relevant and critical knowledge required to improve the quality of service provided by them.

Objective: This paper shows some of the tools and methods that Hospital-in-the-Home Units (HHUs) have used to update the physician-patient knowledge and the technology knowledge of the HHUs' personnel.

Design: A survey study was carried out in the HHU in Spanish health system in 2010.

Setting: Fifty-five doctors and 62 nurses belonging to 44 HHUs.

Interventions: None.

Results: Three hypotheses are presented and supported, which suggest that technology and physician-patient knowledge is related to the unlearning context and the unlearning context impacts positively on the quality of health services provided.

Conclusion: The key benefits of the unlearning context for the quality of service provided in HHUs are clear: it enables them to identify and replace poor practices and also avoids the reinvention of the wheel (e.g.: by minimizing unnecessary work caused by the use of poor methods) and it reduces costs through better productivity and efficiency (improving services to patients).

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Biomedical Technology / methods
  • Biomedical Technology / standards
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Home Care Services, Hospital-Based / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • Spain
  • Workforce