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Identifying barriers to sharing patient knowledge between healthcare professionals from traditional and western medicines in Chinese hospitals

The Chinese healthcare system incorporates two entirely different medical philosophies, namely, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Western Medicine (WM). In the 1950s and by the request of the central government, the two medical professional communities have been both required and encouraged to collaborate with each other. In order to ensure successful implementation of the patient-centred healthcare policy also imposed by the central government, these two very different healthcare professional groups are required to communicate and share knowledge about individual patients. This tacit knowledge sharing (KS) aims at protecting the needs, interests and benefits of patients, as well as guaranteeing that the patient is at the centre of the collaborative processes. However, the two medical communities do not coexist harmoniously and do not readily communicate and share knowledge with each other. There are barriers hindering the processes of KS between TCM and WM healthcare professionals. This thesis reports a PhD research study, which aims to identify barriers to the sharing of patient knowledge between the two types of health care professionals in the context of Chinese hospitals. The study adopted a Grounded Theory approach as the overarching methodology to guide the analysis of the data collected in a single case-study design. A public hospital in central China was selected as the case-study site, at which 49 informants were interviewed by using semi-structured and evolving interview scripts. The research findings point to five categories of KS barriers: contextual influences, hospital management, philosophical divergence, Chinese healthcare education and interprofessional training. Further conceptualising the research findings, it was identified that KS is mostly prevented by philosophical and professional tensions between the two medical communities. Therefore, to improve KS and reduce the effects of the identified barriers, efforts should be made targeted at resolving both types of tensions. The conclusion advocates the establishment of national policies and hospital management strategies aimed at maintaining equality of the two medical communities and putting in place an interprofessional common ground to encourage and facilitate communication and KS. This project contributes to the general fields of knowledge management and knowledge sharing. Specifically, the study contributes to the knowledge sharing in Chinese healthcare organisations, that is, to the fields of healthcare information and knowledge management research in China.
Date January 2012
CreatorsZhou, Lihong
PublisherUniversity of Sheffield
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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