Areas of Expertise
Our core area of expertise at K4Health is in knowledge management (KM) of public health programs. KM is the intentional and ongoing process of generating new knowledge, capturing and organizing existing knowledge, and adapting that knowledge to meet different audiences’ needs. KM also entails making knowledge accessible and usable for the intended audience. The ultimate goal of KM in public health programs is to ensure that public health practitioners have access to the latest knowledge and that they apply that knowledge at all levels of the health system to save and improve people's lives.
For nearly 40 years, we have been a key partner with the U.S. Agency for International Development in sharing family planning/reproductive health knowledge worldwide. Here’s how we do it.
- Audience Research. We start by conducting health information needs assessments in the countries where we work to find out what kinds of information health care workers in the field need, particularly related to family planning/reproductive health, and to understand how they share, adapt, and apply that information.
- Knowledge Capture and Synthesis. Then we work with other organizations to collect information on priority international family planning and reproductive health topics, sift through it, and organize the most important information in a meaningful way—what some people refer to as content curation or knowledge synthesis. Toolkits, POPLINE, and Photoshare are prime examples of our curated products.
- Knowledge Sharing. Using the K4Health website, online forums, eLearning courses, social media such as blogs, mobile technologies, and other communication channels, we share this information with health care professionals in the family planning/reproductive health field to help them improve their programs and practice.
- Knowledge Creation. Throughout the process, we discover new ways of understanding a problem and different approaches for addressing it, leading to the creation of new content to contribute to the field. For example, we produced the widely-used handbook Family Planning: A Global Handbook for Providers (one of the World Health Organization’s four cornerstones of contraceptive guidance) and developed an innovative framework for strategizing family planning programs through our 10 Elements of Family Planning Success.
- Use of Appropriate Technology. Many people think first about technology solutions when they think about organizing and sharing knowledge. However, at K4Health, we use technology to support our KM processes—not as the driving force behind KM solutions. We tap into a range of technology solutions, including Web 2.0 systems, mobile platforms, and even physical face-to-face meetings when needed, to support our KM processes, depending on goals, needs, and resources.
- Monitoring and Evaluation. How do we know whether we are making a difference? Using a seminal guide that we spearheaded with collaboration from dozens of health information programs and organizations, we plan for monitoring and evaluation from the beginning of our KM projects and activities to determine if we are on track and assess whether our products and services are effective and used by health care professionals in the field.
Major Products and Services:
- K4Health Website—You're looking at it! K4Health.org is a portal to knowledge for strengthening family planning/reproductive health and other public health efforts.
- K4Health Toolkits—50 electronic resource collections on particular health topics that are vetted and selected by technical experts. They are designed for health program managers, service providers, and policy makers.
- POPLINE—the world’s largest database on reproductive health, providing access to more than 350,000 records. The database covers reproductive health and related topics and includes links to full-text documents, customized searches, and abstracts in English, French, and Spanish.
- Photoshare—a leading editorial photography collection showcasing international health programs in action and the people they serve. The collection houses more than 20,000 images covering reproductive health and other development topics, which are available free-of-charge for nonprofit and educational use.
- Health Information Needs Assessments—designed to determine the health information needs of key audiences, based on K4Health's updated Guide for Conducting Health Information Needs Assessments
- KM Field Projects—regional and country programs to improve the transfer of knowledge across many levels of the health system, and to build capacity among local partners. Activities include: needs assessments; country-specific Toolkits to strengthen in-country capacity to capture, organize, and disseminate locally relevant resources; tailored eLearning resources that respond to country- and regional- specific needs for training and technical assistance.
- K4Health eLearning services—more than 50 free courses from the Global Health eLearning Center on a number of health topics, including maternal and child health, infectious diseases, gender, health systems, family planning/reproductive health, and HIV/AIDS
- K4Health Blog—authored by K4Health staff and guest contributors, covering current news and events in the global public health field, including a special series on health innovations in global health technologies and advances on women’s empowerment
- Forums—K4Health manages the International Best Practices (IBP) Knowledge Gateway, which brings together individuals and groups around the world to exchange, communicate, and share knowledge on a variety of health issues
- Family Planning: A Global Handbook for Providers—updated 2011 online and print editions; e-Reader/Mobile editions; the companion "Do You Know Your Family Planning Choices?" 2011 wall chart in nine languages, and the Hormonal Methods Reminder Sheet.
- Application for Contraceptive Eligibility (ACE)—a mobile application for Android phones released in the fall of 2011, based on the World Health Organization's medical eligibility criteria and adapted from the Global Handbook