Identifying knowledge sharing barriers in the collaboration of traditional and western medicine professionals in Chinese hospitals: A case study
This paper reports on a research project that aims at identifying knowledge sharing (KS) barriers between traditional and western medicine practitioners co-existing and complementing each other in Chinese healthcare organisations. The study focuses on the tacit aspects of patient knowledge, rather than the traditional technical information shared through patient records. The project adopted a grounded theory approach as the overarching methodology to guide the analysis of data collected in a single case-study research design. A public hospital in central China was selected as the case-study site, at which 49 professionals were interviewed by using semi-structured and evolving interview scripts. The research findings reveal four main categories of KS barriers, namely philosophical divergence, interprofessional tensions, lack of interprofessional common ground, and insufficient interprofessional education and training. The conclusion advocates the establishment of top-down policies for mutual understanding and the creation of an interprofessional common ground between the two types of healthcare professionals. It is proposed that these policies should have two strands. The first strand should be at the grass roots of Chinese Healthcare Higher Education and should actively introduce complementary teaching and practice in these programmes. The second strand should take place in the hospital environment, through interprofessional dialogue, seminars and teamwork, as well as professional training. This paper contributes to the fields of KS and interprofessional collaboration in healthcare heterogeneous groups.