Monitoring and Evaluating Knowledge Management in Global Health Programs

Knowledge management (KM) is a growing strategic area in the field of global health and development. Over the past 15 years, global health professionals have come to recognize the value of KM as an approach to better share and apply knowledge and expertise at global and local levels to improve health. As a result, many of the conventional dissemination activities of health and development projects have evolved into KM activities that recognize and treat knowledge both as a resource—an input necessary to the success of activities—and as a product—a valuable output produced through experience.

As KM is a fairly new concept in global health and development, frameworks and indicators to guide KM activities in this field are limited. In 2007 the Health Information and Publications Network (HIPNet) published the Guide to Monitoring and Evaluating Health Information Products and Services. The publication offered guidance on monitoring and evaluation (M&E) with a focus on health information products and services. It included a logic model, indicators, sample instruments, and case studies. This Guide to Monitoring and Evaluating Knowledge Management in Global Health Programs aims to take that work to the next level—to provide guidance on M&E for knowledge management in international health programs. This Guide updates and expands upon the guidance provided in the 2007 version, retaining indicators that still "work" and adding others that reflect advances in the field and expansion to areas beyond health information products and services, including participatory approaches for sharing knowledge and capturing best practices and lessons learned.

The objectives of this Guide are:

1. To define and describe knowledge and KM activities in the context of global health and development programs

2. To present a logic model that depicts the key components of KM activities and how these components interact to achieve outcomes

3. To provide a concise list of indicators to measure key aspects of KM activities

4. To provide instruments to measure the contribution of KM activities to outputs and outcomes and examples of their use

Equipped with this Guide, implementers can better design, carry out, and measure the impact of their KM efforts. In a world where virtually all global health professionals are practicing KM (consciously or not), it is more important than ever to put its importance into context and gauge its contribution to health systems.