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How Knowledge Management Assists an Organization in Times of Emergency

1 December 2012
Tali Geffen
A doctor using a stethoscope

Guest writer- Tali Gefen, Finance and Planning Division Department Manager, Maccabi Healthcare Services.


What knowledge management activities did you perform following emergencies in general and during Operation Pillar of Defense?

Unfortunately, Maccabi has dealt with several wars and operations, and therefore, we have work processes and procedures for knowledge management in emergencies. We began preparing to deal with emergencies during the Second Lebanon War and have been dealing with these situations until today. We recently conducted a Home Front Command drill to deal with an earthquake and operated during that.


In emergencies, a situation room is set up with representatives from all areas, one of whom is a knowledge management representative. We established a real-time system to check which doctors are active in each clinic at any given moment.


During Operation Pillar of Defense, we performed the following:

  • We launched the emergency portal, which is inactive on regular days. In emergencies, the knowledge management department updates the relevant content for the situation, and within a few hours, the portal is up and running. The portal contains generic procedures and instructions, announcements, updates, etc., tailored to the current emergency.


  • We activated an interactive forum in human resource management, as many issues related to this area existed.

  • We updated procedures and instructions. For example, we published a directive stating that doctors could renew prescriptions by fax during missile attacks so they would not have to come to the clinic.

  • We opened an area on the portal where employees from the North and Center who wish to host employees from the South can invite colleagues from the South, and there was a list of employees interested in being hosted.

  • We used "BlogIdea," an existing blog on which the bloggers posted posts from the command center and shelter.


We connected all these activities through letters, emails, and the portal's homepage, where we prominently linked to the emergency portal.


Did access habits change as a result of the situation? Many employees accessed the emergency portal and the sections for announcements, updates, and all items related to the problem.

Who was the content manager? Under regular circumstances, we have a knowledge leader responsible for the emergency area at Maccabi. He wrote the content to allow him to focus on all tasks, and the knowledge management department helped load it onto the portal.


Did you share knowledge with other organizations? The Ministry of Health and other health funds cooperated at the organizational level. We linked to relevant sites and published materials we received on the topic from our portal.

Do you have any recommendations for other organizations? To make peace, not war. Since that's probably not so simple, then to prepare in advance for these situations, to be integrated into all the central organizational mechanisms dealing with emergency preparedness, even routinely, and to be flexible and creative during the emergency itself.

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