A Knowledge Management Case Study of London Ambulance Service Computer Aided Despatch System

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INTRODUCTION

Objectives of this Report:
This report also explores the various facets which contributed to the failure of the 1992 London Ambulance Service Computer Aided Despatch System and lessons which may be learnt from it. Both information systems and knowledge management initiatives share similar success factors for development and implementation.

Although there have been various literature reviewed, this report draws primarily on the official Inquiry Report into the London Ambulance Service Computer Aided Despatch System, (Page et al. 1993)[1] and any reference to “The Inquiry Report” in this report is reference to that report.

1.0Data, Information, Knowledge and Wisdom
1.1.Data
Data may be viewed as the raw material of the required information. It has no understandable meaning, nor form, nor recognisable pattern to the audience prior to undergoing the process of being organised and analysed for a particular purpose, and then presented in a “form” that the audience would see its meaning within the context of the particular area studied. 1.2.Information

Information has been described as data “in formation” (Dixon, 2000)[2]. It is data that is classified, sorted, perhaps even statistically analysed, displayed, communicated verbally or graphically, or in the form of tables. It has form and pattern because it is organised deliberately for a specific purpose, within a context for an audience. 1.3.Knowledge

Knowledge is derived from information much in the same way that information is derived from data. Knowledge, however, could only be created by people. It is a synthesis of information that is digested, believed to be true and applied in an experiential way by the ‘knower’. I believe knowledge is something the ‘knower’ believes and concludes to be true, and influences his following decisions and actions. “It is knowledge, not information, which can lead to a competitive advantage in business“ (Awad, 2004) [3]. 1.4.Wisdom

Wisdom may be viewed as the ability to practice good judgements and making right decisions under various circumstances and having deep sense of ‘knowing’ and intuition cultivated through experience.

Figure 1.1 : Data, Information, Knowledge and Wisdom [3].
To illustrate further their distinction:
Supposing we carried out a survey of disease patterns in Vietnam and we recorded on separate sheets the number of a disease occurrence at four separate districts over time. The recorded figures do not by themselves inform the human mind. For example, we may tabulate the data, discard extreme values, work out averages based on most common occurrence (mode), chart out frequency distribution tables, and highlight normal distribution to form valuable “in-formation”. The recorded data now has a form and pattern to facilitate conclusion. This information fosters seeing a pattern for the disease distribution and fosters better understanding of the disease leading the audience to ‘know’, (create new knowledge) what measures should be taken to curb the disease.

2.0Pre-Implementation Situational Analysis
2.1.Historical Context
2.1.1.Organisational History
After a nation-wide restructuring in the NHS, the London Ambulance Service became a quasi independent body having its own Board and being managed only at "arm's length" by Regional Health Authorities. This was a privation of the expertise and checks previously engaged at Regional level and had placed additional pressure to perform on the Service. 2.2.External context

2.2.1.There was no strategic alignment of IT vision for Initiatives across the different levels of NHS and no one body had the overall responsibility. Clearly defined vision ensures meeting the agreed goals at every level, and at a micro scale within the LAS organisation. 2.2.2.External pressure to improve performance

The LAS also came constantly under constant criticism from the general public, the media, the Regional Health Authority and the Healthcare...
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