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Over the past decade, knowledge management (KM), as a concept and a set of practices, has penetrated into the fabric of organizational and managerial processes in the healthcare sector, which has been the site of numerous innovative KM practices. As a result scholars from a range of academic (and non-academic) fields have begun to document how KM is conceived and practised in health care, what the recurrent issues are and how they can be addressed. The purpose of this paper is to review the current literature on KM concepts, policies and practices in the healthcare sector. Based on the analysis of the most relevant contributions in the last six years, three overarching themes that have occupied the interests of authors are identified and discussed: the nature of knowing in the healthcare sector, the type of KM tools and initiatives that are suitable for the healthcare sector, and the barriers and enablers to the take up of KM practices. The paper concludes with some considerations on what the literature tells us about the state of the art and the future of KM in this important sector of Western economies. © 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd and British Academy of Management.

Original publication




Journal article


International Journal of Management Reviews

Publication Date





245 - 263