Research Paper on Importance of Having a Culture of a Learning Organization in Healthcare

Published: 2021/11/15
Number of words: 1225


This research paper outline will discuss a research outline and intended direction for the final paper’s argument, with respect to 11 scholarly sources on the topic of the importance of having a culture of a learning organization in healthcare. An abstract will also be provided to outline the topic and subsequent findings. The eventual final paper will argue that a culture of a learning organization in healthcare is important because it promotes organizational competency, continuous improvement, smooth application of new technologies and processes for organizational excellence, and change management in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) environment.

Learning organizations in healthcare have been shown to exhibit stronger service standards, financial performance and employee engagement, but the precise value of a learning healthcare organization has yet to be fully determined in current healthcare discourse. Based on the available literature, a culture of a learning organization in healthcare is important because it promotes organizational competency, continuous improvement, smooth application of new technologies and processes for organizational excellence, and change management in an increasingly volatile healthcare operating environment. In addition, through strategies such as visionary leadership, organizational culture reform, strong awareness of quality improvement objectives, team reflexivity and incident reviews, a strong learning culture in healthcare organizations can contribute to a more agile, progressive and dynamic healthcare organization. These set the healthcare organization in good stead for operational excellence in their healthcare management and service administration.

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Updated overview of literature for research paper

The above assertions are supported by the following articles researched in the course of this paper.

Foremost, a learning organization improves employee cross-functionalism, engagement and productivity, which contribute to stronger healthcare organisations. Mahajan et al (2018) discuss the importance of interprofessional education in bettering key healthcare outcomes such as cost effectiveness and patient satisfaction (Mahajan et al, 2018). The authors discuss how different professions, such as medical, dental and physiotherapy professionals, can benefit from a culture of a learning organization in learning more about their colleagues’ objectives and roles. This would help to form a healthcare team that practices collaboratively and communicates effectively. The large volume of data in the healthcare world also requires continuous improvement, as Wickramasinghe (2000) discusses in a review of the need for developing healthcare learning organizations in the context of an increasingly data-driven world, in leveraging large volumes of health records and patient data to come up with actionable insights (Wickramasinghe, 2000). In addition, Lindblad et al (2017) discuss the need for a shift toward a learning-based health organization culture by facilitating strong collaboration, information-sharing and inter-stakeholder engagement to promote stronger quality of care. These include patient-clinician conversations for co-production, patient-family conversations, community of patient conversations and clinical team conversations to promote stronger research, benchmarking and innovation in learning.

Secondly, learning organizations in healthcare promote change management. Morain et al (2017) discuss the role of a learning organization in ensuring that the organization is able to drive effective change amid competing priorities and regulatory challenges, and exercise visionary leadership in the face of challenges such as patient treatment quality, academic/clinical integration and cost pressures (Morain et al, 2017). Likewise, Butler et al (2017) note that a learning organization in healthcare can help to address doubts over the need for reform to improve the quality of patient care, and ensure that healthcare practitioners understand why regular treatment and process reforms are necessary (Butler et al, 2017).

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Finally, learning organizations in healthcare are able to more effectively respond to threats and capitalize on opportunities in their healthcare ecosystems. Specifically, shared reflection and learning in nursing teams has been shown to promote team reflexivity, which helps nursing teams to be more deliberate on internalizing the insights from different cases to be more dynamic about how they function as a team (Schmutz & Eppich, 2017). Learning organizations in healthcare are also able to more actively identify potential safety breaches and make dynamic trade-offs to adjust to the changing demands of the healthcare operating environment (Sujan et al, 2017).


This paper will discuss how a learning culture in healthcare organisations is important in the modern healthcare operating environment. This is because such a culture improves employee cross-functionalism, engagement and productivity, promote change management, and allow healthcare stakeholders to more effectively respond to threats and capitalize on opportunities in their healthcare ecosystems, which ultimately contribute to stronger healthcare organisations. This paper will leverage peer-reviewed studies in the past five years that cover healthcare practitioner and resident attitudes to learning organisations, and provide strong case studies on the vital role that learning organisations play in improving process efficiency, patient satisfaction, system reliability, interprofessional collaboration and organizational dynamism.


Archambault‐Grenier, M. A., Roy‐Gagnon, M. H., Gauvin, F., Doucet, H., Humbert, N., Stojanovic, S., & Duval, M. (2018). Survey highlights the need for specific interventions to reduce frequent conflicts between healthcare professionals providing paediatric end‐of‐life care. Acta Paediatrica107(2), 262-269.

Atkins, D., Kilbourne, A. M., & Shulkin, D. (2017). Moving from discovery to system-wide change: the role of research in a learning health care system: experience from three decades of health systems research in the Veterans Health Administration. Annual review of public health38, 467-487.

Butler, J. M., Anderson, K. A., Supiano, M. A., & Weir, C. R. (2017). “It feels like a lot of extra work”: resident attitudes about quality improvement and implications for an effective learning health care system. Academic Medicine92(7), 984-990.

Day, R. M., Demski, R. J., Pronovost, P. J., Sutcliffe, K. M., Kasda, E. M., Maragakis, L. L., & Winner, L. (2018). Operating management system for high reliability: Leadership, accountability, learning and innovation in healthcare. Journal of Patient Safety and Risk Management23(4), 155-166.

Eichler, H. G., Bloechl‐Daum, B., Broich, K., Kyrle, P. A., Oderkirk, J., Rasi, G., & Wenzl, M. (2019). Data rich, information poor: can we use electronic health records to create a learning healthcare system for pharmaceuticals?. Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics105(4), 912-922.

Lindblad, S., Ernestam, S., Van Citters, A. D., Lind, C., Morgan, T. S., & Nelson, E. C. (2017). Creating a culture of health: evolving healthcare systems and patient engagement. QJM: An International Journal of Medicine110(3), 125-129.

Mahajan, R., Mohammed, C. A., Sharma, M., Gupta, P., & Singh, T. (2018). Interprofessional education: An approach to improve healthcare outcomes. Indian Pediatrics, 55(3), 241-249.

Morain, S. R., Kass, N. E., & Grossmann, C. (2017). What allows a health care system to become a learning health care system: results from interviews with health system leaders. Learning Health Systems1(1), e10015.

Schmutz, J. B., & Eppich, W. J. (2017). Promoting learning and patient care through shared reflection: a conceptual framework for team reflexivity in health care. Academic Medicine92(11), 1555-1563.

Sujan, M. A., Huang, H., & Braithwaite, J. (2017). Learning from incidents in health care: Critique from a Safety-II perspective. Safety Science99, 115-121.

Wickramasinghe, N. (2020). The Need for Developing Learning Healthcare Organisations. In Handbook of Research on Optimizing Healthcare Management Techniques (pp. 1-15). IGI Global.

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