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Doctor Know: A knowledge commons in health

This report calls for an information revolution in healthcare, and makes the case for a ‘knowledge commons’ in health.

This report calls for an information revolution in healthcare, and makes the case for a ‘knowledge commons’ in health.

Key findings

  • A knowledge commons is a shared resource – made accessible and intentionally open – rather than subject to restrictions through licensing. Pioneers of the knowledge commons movement in other areas include Wikipedia, Linux, and Creative Commons.
  • To be effective, the knowledge commons needs different types of information and input from a wide range of sources.
  • Participants share data and knowledge openly with a view to improving health outcomes for all. There are four key areas where we think this will create value: research and discovery (eg new drugs or pathways of self-care), diagnosis and prognosis, changing relationships and prevention and wellness.

The way we create, access and share information is changing rapidly. Every time we look something up on Wikipedia, rate an experience on Tripadvisor or enter search terms in Google, we are taking advantage of the increasingly sophisticated way in which technology and digital tools are allowing us to capture, refine, synthesise and structure our collective intelligence.

In partnership with The Young Foundation and the Institute for Digital Healthcare at Warwick University, this report argues that society's growing ability to mobilise knowledge from different fields and sources is beginning to show the potential of a 'knowledge commons' in healthcare: an open system of knowledge with researchers, practising clinicians, patients, their families and communities all involved in capturing, refining and utilising a common body of knowledge in real time. We set out what this might mean in practice, and steps we should take to get there.

Authors

John Loder, Laura Bunt and Jeremy C Wyatt

Authors

Laura Bunt

Laura Bunt

Laura Bunt

Lead Policy Advisor, Public and Social Innovation

Laura was Nesta'’s lead policy advisor for public and social innovation until November 2013. She joined Nesta's Policy and Research team in 2009 focusing on social innovation and inn...

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