KM past and future: closing the knowledge loop
In the Army War College, Microsoft SharePoint is a common collaboration tool being used as an internal portal and for course work. “Speeches and briefings, as well as classroom materials, can be captured, stored, disseminated and commented on,” Schlussel says, “which provides extensibility outside the classroom and into the field.” Each of 20 seminars has its own SharePoint portal site through which the faculty and students can teach, collaborate and share.
KM has a large role in military training, because it provides a variety of methods for disseminating information. “The environments people face in military conflicts are complex, and the downside of failure is high,” says Eric Sauve, CEO of Tomoye. “In addition, more broadly in government, the new administration has put significant emphasis on government being open, transparent and collaborative. Both these forces create a context in which knowledge management will have a robust future.”
Open Text recently announced improved integration of its enterprise content management (ECM) products with applications from SAP, which provides enterprise resources planning (ERP) solutions. As a result, SAP users have immediate access to the unstructured content that supports their work without having to leave their primary application.
The tighter integration supports seamless accounts payable operations from the procurement stage through payment, automatic retention management and access via SAP’s customer relationship management (CRM) software to documents that provide answers to customer inquiries.
Linking people and records
Successfully closing a case often hinges on making connections among names, facts and events. PeopleMap from West, which is a division of Thomson Reuters, provides information based on millions of public records in numerous databases. Its ability to pull together a coherent picture of an individual’s history and relationships is helping lawyers to clinch their cases.
An initial step that PeopleMap carries out is verifying the identity of an individual, because names often show variations across different records. PeopleMap then develops an authority file to start establishing connections between the target individual and other legal cases and people. Once the initial research is completed, information is added incrementally as new events occur.
A recent innovation in PeopleMap is the ability to display connections graphically. “This visualization capability allows users to quickly see the individual’s relationships with other people and cases,” says Kevin Appold, senior director of new product development at West. “For many users, this presentation technique is more effective than text only, although that mode is available as well.”
At Forman & Cardonsky, attorney Mark Lawrence has been using PeopleMap to find connections between people to find a motive for behavior. “Many of our whistleblower cases involve some type of corruption, and we look for a connection between the person who wrongfully fired our client and a third party involved in corruption,” says Lawrence.
In one instance, Lawrence reports, the people who colluded were backyard neighbors. The relationship would have been difficult to detect with text-only information, because the street names of the two people were not the same; instead, it was revealed through geospatial information presented graphically.
NHIN creates ecosystem for sharing medical information
Creating a way for patients to share their medical records across multiple healthcare providers has been an unrealized vision so far, but a government initiative called the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) marks an important step in that direction. The NHIN provides the standards, security controls and governance needed to allow providers, government agencies and other healthcare entities to share electronic health records (EHRs). CONNECT is an open source software solution developed through the collaborative efforts of more than 20 federal agencies, and coordinated by the Federal Health Architecture office within the Department of Health and Human Services.
Vish Sankaran, program director for Federal Health Architecture, explains, “We want to make health information exchange a commodity, with an ecosystem of buyers and sellers.” About 20 vendors are now building products that work with CONNECT.
“Once patient information is broadly available through EHRs, the healthcare industry will be able to take a much more patient-centric approach,” explains Sankaran. “Patients will not have to bear the burden of making sure that each provider has access to his or her medical information, for example. It will be readily available to anyone authorized by the patient. This will cut down on medical errors and expedite care.”