Reaching out to stakeholders: The use of knowledge terminology on the websites of Australian public hospitals

BMC Health Serv Res. 2020 Oct 26;20(1):974. doi: 10.1186/s12913-020-05798-y.


Background: The objective of the study described in this article was to examine whether, and to what extent, Australian public hospitals use knowledge terminology, i.e. a body of knowledge-related terms, on their websites. The paper also discusses the difference in the level of such communication between large and small hospitals, the factors affecting the use of the knowledge-related terms in the communication and the similarities/differences between the use of knowledge terms in Australian public hospitals and large/small companies in Australia.

Methods: 151 Australian public hospitals were included in the research sample: 51 large and 100 small hospitals. Using the method of content analysis, websites mentioning knowledge creation, knowledge sharing, knowledge implementation, and knowledge retention were identified, along with the number of these mentions. Descriptive statistics and chi square test of independence were used to provide answers to four research questions.

Results: Of the 151 hospitals included in the sample, 30 had no website and 62 (50 small and 12 large) had a single page website. The study found that there are differences between Australian public hospitals regarding the level of their knowledge communication on their websites, both between small and large hospitals and between the individual hospitals within the large and small hospital groups.

Conclusions: A well-known saying goes "For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of". Effective communication of knowledge-related terminologies to both internal and external stakeholders, i.e. the parties who access the websites, is therefore an indication of a knowledge focus in the public hospitals. Large hospitals are generally more active in communicating knowledge terms, although there are some exceptions. Some of the small hospitals can lead by example, but most of them do not include knowledge terminology in their communication on websites.

Keywords: Communication; Hospitals; Knowledge; Knowledge culture; Knowledge terminology; Websites.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Communication*
  • Hospitals, Public*
  • Humans
  • Internet

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