Active Projects

An examination of different mechanisms aimed at facilitating knowledge transfer across professional and organisational boundaries in healthcare

A particular concern within the healthcare field is the issue of research informing practice, where a substantial time lag exists and when it is taken up it is not utilised in a reliable or consistent fashion. This has been the subject of debate since the 1950’s and continues today. This failure to translate knowledge from research into practice wastes resources and leads to an inefficient and unproductive health system. This combined with the healthcare funding issues makes it clear that effective techniques and approaches are required to address this knowledge gap (defined as the ‘second translational gap’). As such it has become a significant focus for policy makers, funding bodies and researchers.

Project Facts

Start date: October 2009
End date: October 2012
Investigators Professor James Barlow; Dr. Jane Hendy
Staff Employed Linda Pomeroy
Status Active

Project Partners

Project Partners

Imperial College Business School
Tanaka Building
South Kensington Campus
London SW7 2AZ

Literature suggests there is no ‘magic bullet’ to move healthcare research into improved clinical practice. This difficulty is linked to NHS structures and organizational complexity; there are multiple stakeholders, networks and silos. We know that knowledge ‘sticks’ at many of these professional and organisational junctions. In 2000 Wenger identified three knowledge transfer mechanisms for bridging these boundaries; social interactions, people (i.e. individual skills and brokerage) and boundary bridging objects (i.e. artefacts and documents). Alongside these mechanisms the role of network structures is highlighted in achieving optimal levels of knowledge transfer. This study investigates a range of networks aimed at transferring knowledge and bridging multiple boundaries across healthcare.