In partnership with the Choosing Wisely health campaign, we were tasked with creating a systems map that showed how information and decisions were transferred throughout the network of stakeholders. This allowed to better understand the healthcare industry and see how the system works, as well as identify where shortcomings or obstacles existed.
Our contact within the healthcare system, Dr. Stephanie VanDenberg, was very helpful in providing first-person insight into how the flow of information worked within the system. Other resources such as research papers helped to further my understanding of the communications networks in this area.
To communicate and explain the healthcare system, I wanted to show four key components: the phases of knowledge transfer, the internal stages of each phases, the stakeholders involved in each phase and stage, and the approximate timeline of how long each phase occurred for. There are also multiple ways in which information is transferred between stakeholders, which is not as essential as the four components outlined above.
After outlining the essential pieces I wanted to incorporate, it became clear that I wanted to take the user through a journey of how knowledge is transferred throughout the system from beginning to end. The user of this system map -- whether they were a researcher, practitioner or patient -- could insert themselves into the appropriate phase on the systems map and be able to understand where the information is coming from, and what the next destination in the system is.
This systems map was designed to highlight the three stages of knowledge within the Alberta healthcare system -- commission of knowledge, which involves the research of new practices and procedures by federal and provincial departments; implementation of knowledge by practitioners, which can include public health institutions, private practices or other health programs; and usage of knowledge by the patient, who can also receive additional information from friends/family, the internet and other healthcare materials.
The timeline of this systems map is intended to give an approximate amount of time from when knowledge is commissioned, to when it can be used by the patient. This is a best average, as more unconventional or untested knowledge will take longer to validate before it reaches the patient at the end of the system.