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Communities of Practice(CoP) to support HealthIT uptake - does it really work?

By Naomi Muinga Moderator | 16 Jan, 2017

Communities of practice have been described to be a key aspect of IT implementations or any product for that matter. They are theoretically supposed to encourage sharing of knowledge and increase buy in. What are your experiences in creating these communities?

1. How did you go about setting up the community?
2. How is it supported?
3. Who are the members and how often do they contribute?
4. What technology(if any) is used to facilitate discussions?

A community of practice is a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do, and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. - Wenger-Trayner

Attached resource:

Replies

 

Neil Pakenham-Walsh Replied at 12:19 PM, 16 Jan 2017

Hello Naomi and all,
Thanks for starting this discussion.
1. How did you go about setting up the community? After a lot of planning, and with help from the BMJ, we launched at the AHILA Congress in 2006 in Kenya
2. How is it supported? Our forums are called HIFA (Healthcare Information For All) and are supported by 16,000 members, 200 volunteers, 289 supporting organisations, and 35 financial contributors (our main funder is the British Medical Association)
3. Our members are health professionals, researchers, policymakers, information professionals, publishers from 176 countries. We have 5 forums in 3 languages (English, French, Portuguese). Spanish later this year.
4. Dgroups platform. www.dgroups.info
I look forward to learn from others.
Best wishes, Neil Pakenham-Walsh www.hifa.org

Steven Wanyee Macharia Replied at 12:13 AM, 17 Jan 2017

Hi Naomi,

My general experience is that the most successful COP that survive are those that grow organically, based on a principle where everyone feels "first among equals". The principle of sharing can't be forced on people who eventually become contributors in the COP. Over the growth and development pathways of a COP, ground rules to self govern the COP will naturally emerge.
Underlying all these and a key foundational component then is common needs driven by a deep passion which for example say in OpenMRS, OpenHIE are a genuine desire and drive to significantly contribute to saving lives and improving healthcare through digital health.
Thanks.

Naomi Muinga Moderator Replied at 2:54 AM, 18 Jan 2017

Hi Neil, Thanks for your response. Do you by any chance have any feedback from the dgroups users on what value the community has been to their own development or professional work?

Steve, you are absolutely right! "The principle of sharing can't be forced on people" - are there successful cases where this has been 'gently' encouraged and become successful?

Neil Pakenham-Walsh Replied at 9:19 AM, 18 Jan 2017

Hi Naomi,
"Do you by any chance have any feedback from the dgroups users on what value the community has been to their own development or professional work?"
Yes. We regularly receive testimonials and in 2011 we had a major external evaluation of HIFA funded by Rockefeller.
http://www.hifa.org/sites/default/files/other_publications_uploads/HIFA2015-E...

It concluded: 'HIFA achieves an extraordinary level of activity on minimal resources from which many people around the world benefit'

The annexes of the full report (available on our website www.hifa.org) give several case studies and examples.

Best wishes, Neil

Naomi Muinga Moderator Replied at 7:05 AM, 20 Jan 2017

Thanks Neil for the report!

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