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.
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).