Does technology help doctors to access, use and share knowledge?




Given the power and pervasiveness of technology, this paper considers whether it can help doctors to access, use and share knowledge and thus contribute to their ability to uphold the part of the Hippocratic Oath concerned with respecting ‘the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk’ and sharing ‘such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow’. How technology supports connections between doctors and knowledge is considered by focusing on the use of mobile technology in the workplace and Web 2.0 tools.


Sfard's ‘acquisition’ and ‘participation’ models are employed to help develop an understanding of what these uses of technology mean for learning and knowledge sharing.


The employment of technology is not neutral in its effects. Issues relate to knowledge ownership, information overload, quality control and interpretations attached to the use of mobile devices in the workplace. These issues raise deeper questions about the nature of knowledge and social theory and socio-material research questions about the effect of technology on workplace learning.


Although the empirical and theoretical evidence presented shows how technology has clear potential to contribute both to accessing evidence and sharing knowledge, there is need for further research that applies theoretical frameworks to the analysis of the impact of technology on workplace learning.