Managing Information - Stack of books

PLANNING SERVICES & MAKING DECISIONS

Managing Information is an important skill for health managers who will encounter a range of information systems and processes within organisations. These often create valuable information on which to plan services and make decisions. Health managers need to understand and make sense of what is provided. This includes making informed choices on what is helpful, will lead to improved outcomes or provides enough evidence to change a service.

It is key for health managers to accurately manage and interpret information, to identify trends, such as changes in health outcomes. This requires regular commitment to updating and critically analysing information sources. This includes ensuring sources of information are used for managing resources more efficiently and effectively.

Managing Information encompasses people, processes, technology (the systems used need to deliver the outcomes required) and content (what is produced must be worthwhile and justify the resources committed to developing that content). A manager who is able to develop good analytical skills and critically interpret the range of information available will be able to:

  • improve the efficiency and safety of business processes
  • meet the demands of compliance regulations
  • operationalise the delivery of high quality services.

Explicit and tacit information

In general, managing information assets falls into two categories: explicit or tacit.
Explicit information is quantifiable, has been validated (such as through a medical trial or statistical evidence). For health managers this is information is relatively easy to use.

Individual or groups of people often also hold tacit information. Health managers need to understand and capture this wherever possible. They can then see if a deeper level of understanding can be quantified and used. High performing services are good at extracting the important tacit knowledge and developing mechanisms to use this. Tacit knowledge can be lost when people leave or move from an organisation. Managers need to safeguard against this risk.