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      Transferring, translating and transforming knowledge: the role of brokering in healthcare networks


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          This research examines how knowledge and information are managed within two care networks. We develop a conceptual framework drawing on the notion of brokering and the 3T framework, which is used to describe the relative complexity of boundaries (referred to in the framework as syntactic, semantic and pragmatic) as well as capabilities and processes required to exchange information within the network. Previous research on brokering has focused on healthcare managers and professionals, but this research extends to patients and caregivers. Understanding knowledge exchange and brokering practices in healthcare is critical to the delivery of effective services.


          For this case research, non-participant observation and experienced-based interviews were undertaken with healthcare professionals, patients and caregivers within two care networks.


          The findings reveal brokering roles occupied by healthcare professionals, patients and caregivers support the transfer, translation and transformation of knowledge and information across functional and organisational boundaries. Enablers and disablers to brokering and the exchange of knowledge and information are also identified.

          Research limitations/implications

          The study is limited to two care networks for long-term conditions within the UK. Further research opportunities exist to examine similar care networks that extend across professional and organisational boundaries.

          Practical implications

          This research informs healthcare professionals of the brokering capabilities that occur within networks and the enabling and disabling factors to managing knowledge across boundaries.


          This paper provides a conceptual framework that categorises how increased levels of knowledge and information exchange and brokering practices are managed within care networks.

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          Most cited references 72

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          Technology Brokering and Innovation in a Product Development Firm

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            Life in the Trading Zone: Structuring Coordination Across Boundaries in Postbureaucratic Organizations

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              Is Open Access

              From tokenism to empowerment: progressing patient and public involvement in healthcare improvement

              Background There have been repeated calls to better involve patients and the public and to place them at the centre of healthcare. Serious clinical and service failings in the UK and internationally increase the urgency and importance of addressing this problem. Despite this supportive policy context, progress to achieve greater involvement is patchy and slow and often concentrated at the lowest levels of involvement. Methods A selective narrative literature search was guided by the authors’ broad expertise, covering a range of disciplines across health and social care, policy and research. Published systematic literature reviews were used to identify relevant authors and publications. Google and hand searches of journal articles and reference lists and reports augmented identification of recent evidence. Results Patients and the wider public can be involved at most stages of healthcare, and this can have a number of benefits. Uncertainty persists about why and how to do involvement well and evaluate its impact, how to involve and support a diversity of individuals, and in ways that allow them to work in partnership to genuinely influence decision-making. This exposes patient and public involvement (PPI) to criticisms of exclusivity and tokenism. Conclusions Current models of PPI are too narrow, and few organisations mention empowerment or address equality and diversity in their involvement strategies. These aspects of involvement should receive greater attention, as well as the adoption of models and frameworks that enable power and decision-making to be shared more equitably with patients and the public in designing, planning and co-producing healthcare.

                Author and article information

                Journal of Health Organization and Management
                Emerald Publishing
                30 August 2021
                13 October 2021
                : 35
                Issue : 7 Issue title : Implementation Science to Practice in Healthcare Organization and Management Issue title : Implementation Science to Practice in Health
                : 924-947
                [1]College of Human and Health Sciences, Swansea University , Swansea, UK
                [2]Bayes Business School, City, University of London , London, UK
                [3] Faculty of Management and Law , University of Surrey , Guildford, UK
                [4]Buckingham Lean Enterprise Unit, The University of Buckingham , Buckingham, UK
                [5] Leeds Business School , Leeds Beckett University , Leeds, UK
                Author notes
                Sharon J. Williams can be contacted at: sharon.j.williams@swansea.ac.uk
                669194 JHOM-02-2021-0063.pdf JHOM-02-2021-0063
                © Emerald Publishing Limited
                Page count
                Figures: 5, Tables: 6, Equations: 0, References: 72, Pages: 24, Words: 12226
                case-report, Case study
                cat-HSC, Health & social care
                , Healthcare management
                Custom metadata

                Health & Social care

                Health care, Professionals, Broker, Knowledge sharing, Patients, Networks


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