A revolution in the sharing of knowledge…

Transforming e-Knowledge
TABLE OF CONTENTS     Achieving Success in the Emerging e-Knowledge Industry   © SCUP 2003
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Developing a Knowledge Strategy that Drives Enterprise Initiatives (continued)



Chapter 7

Achieving Success in the Emerging e-Knowledge Industry

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AHIMA engaged in a strategic planning process that set the goals of establishing indispensable relationships with members, customers, makers of health care policy, and other stakeholders. The planning process launched four expeditionary initiatives that would be used to position AHIMA for competitive advantage and discover a new level of relationship with its members. Two of these expeditions explicitly dealt with creating and sharing knowledge with members, non-member customers, and other stakeholders.

  • Defining, Mapping, and Providing the Body of Knowledge (BoK) for the Profession. AHIMA’s CEO and Board recognized that its stature as a renowned knowledge provider was a benchmark of its value to members and its perceived standing in the health care field. So they made knowledge a strategic imperative.

    First, they stated their strategic intent to define the “body of knowledge” for health information management and to access that BoK from the AHIMA Web site and portal, offering some elements for members only. In the process of defining the BoK and linking to its components, AHIMA affirmed its concern that it did not own an iconic text for Health Information Management (HIM). Therefore, over the course of two years, AHIMA completed a comprehensive, contemporary text for two-year programs and commissioned a similar text for four-year programs.

    Second, AHIMA made the provision of knowledge and participation in co-creation and learning a centerpiece of its portal experience. Its value proposition positions knowledge sharing at the heart of its aspiration to become indispensable to HIM professionals.
  • Growing Communities of Practice. AHIMA explicitly decided to redirect the energies of staff and members from its governance model to a community of practice model. Two forces motivated the change: 1) the existing governance model was overly complex, draining the association’s energies, and 2) the association’s opportunities were found in mobilizing its members’ expertise in the emergent practice areas of the profession. To become indispensable to its members, AHIMA needed to become the place where the conversations of greatest meaning to practitioners were convened, with members and non-member customers being co-creators of value, not just consumers.

    AHIMA developed an enterprise portal that transformed its Web site (www.ahima.org) into the gateway for members, non-member customers, and other stakeholders. Several geographical communities continued to exist, leftover from the geographical base of AHIMA’s governance model. But the new communities of practice that have evolved have been allowed to emerge biologically, in response to the developing trends and interests in the field, not a predetermined architecture, established by staff or member leaders. As a result, the new communities of practice reflect a combination of traditional topics like Medical Records Coding (6,812 participants), and emergent interests like Home Coding (800 members who work from home offices), JCAHO Accreditation Standards, APCS (2,501 participants), and Acute Care (1,673 participants).

A case study describing AHIMA’s knowledge strategy, its expeditionary initiatives, and its prospects for the next several years may be found at www.transformingeknowledge.info.

In explicitly stating the centrality of knowledge, AHIMA shaped all four of its expeditions, plus all of its tactical business plans for both ongoing operations and new initiatives.


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  Becoming a global company once meant penetrating markets around the world. But the demands of the Knowledge Economy are turning that strategy on its head. Today, the challenge is to innovate by learning from the world.

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