Technology-Enabled Knowledge Translation and Our Environment

  • Richard Scott
  • Chad Saunders
  • Mone Palacios
  • Duyen Nguyen
  • Sajid Ali
Part of the Healthcare Delivery in the Information Age book series (Healthcare Delivery Inform. Age)


Questioning the underutilization of ‘knowledge’ for the purpose of informing policy and decision-making is an area of historical and continued debate. In the last decade or so, there has been renewed interest in the health and health-care sectors in rapidly transforming knowledge into informed action. The term knowledge translation (KT) has been used to describe this process. Concomitant with this has been the rapid growth in the application of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to capture data, transform data into information, share this information to generate knowledge, and to then apply that knowledge, giving rise to the term Technology-Enabled Knowledge Translation (TEKT). Many advantages are purported to exist for the use of ICTs in business, entertainment, health, education, and KT through linking people, objects, and information. Disadvantages are seldom addressed. Overlooked in this convergence of technology and KT has been the fact that application of any type of ICT solution has an environmental impact. Recent research into Environmental e-Health, another ICT-intensive field of health-related research and application, has revealed concern for three primary areas of environmental impact (resource depletion, energy use, and e-waste) and the need for thorough understanding of any specific circumstance through life cycle assessment. These findings are examined in the context of TEKT in order to raise awareness and encourage environmentally sensitive applications of TEKT solutions.


Combustion Hydrocarbon Expense Posit Egypt 


  1. Arnfalk, P. (2002). Virtual mobility and pollution prevention – The emerging role of ICT based communication in organisations and its impact on travel. Scania/Sweden: Lund University.Google Scholar
  2. Arnfalk, P., & Kogg, B. (2003). Service transformation – Managing a shift from business travel to virtual meetings. Journal of Cleaner Production, 11(8), 859–872.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Berkhout, F., & Hertin, J. (2004). De-materialising and re-materialising: Digital technologies and the environment. Futures, 36(8), 903–920.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chetley, A. (2006). Improving health, connecting people: The role of ICTs in the health sector of developing countries. A framework paper. InfoDev.Google Scholar
  5. CHSRF. (2011). Glossary of knowledge exchange terms as used by CHSRF. Available at: Accessed 12 Aug 2011.
  6. CIHR, (2004). Knowledge translation strategy 2004–2009: Innovation in action. Ottawa: Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
  7. Davis, D., Evans, M., Jadad, A., Perrier, L., Rath, D., Ryan, D., et al. (2003). The case for knowledge translation: Shortening the journey from evidence to effect. British Medical Journal, 327(7405), 33–35.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Forrester Research. (2007). Worldwide PC Adoption Forecast, 2007 to 2015. Accessed 30 Aug 2011.
  9. Graham, I. D., Logan, J., Harrison, M., Straus, S., et al. (2006). Lost in knowledge translation: Time for a map? Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, 26(1), 13–24.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Greenberg, S. B. (2008). The Jeremiah Metzger Lecture: Osler – Web – Rendezvous: Impact of the information explosion on medical education. Transactions of the American Clinical and Climatological Association, 119, 245–261.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Greenpeace. (2010). Make IT Green: Cloud computing and its contribution to climate change. Available at: Accessed 15 Aug 2011.
  12. Ho, K., Chockalingam, A., Best, A., & Walsh, G. (2003). Technology-enabled knowledge translation: Building a framework for collaboration. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 168(6), 710–711.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Ho, K., Novak-Lauscher, H., Best, A., Walsh, G., Jarvis-Selinger, S., Fedeles, M., & Chockalingam, A. (2004). Dissecting technology-enabled knowledge translation: Essential challenges, unprecedented opportunities. Clinical Investigative Medicine, 27(2), 70–78.Google Scholar
  14. Holroyd, B. R., Bullard, M. J., Graham, T. A. D., & Rowe, B. H. (2007). Decision support technology in knowledge translation. Academic Emergency Medicine, 14(11), 942–948.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Idowu, S. A., & Awodele, O. (2010). Information and communication technology (ICT) revolution: Its environmental impact and sustainable development. International Journal on Computer Science and Engineering, 2(1S), 30–35.Google Scholar
  16. Jacobson, N., Butterill, D., & Goering, P. (2003). Development of a framework for knowledge translation: Understanding user context. Journal of Health Services Research & Policy, 8(2), 94–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kahhat, R., & Williams, E. (2009). Product or waste? Importation and end-of-life processing of computers in Peru. Environmental Science and Technology, 43(15), 6010–6016.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lavis, J. N., Robertson, D., Woodside, J. M., McLeod, C. B., & Abelson, J. (2003). How can research organizations more effectively transfer research knowledge to decision makers? Milbank Quarterly, 81(2), 221–248.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lewis, D., Tranter, G., & Axford, A. T. (2009). Use of videoconferencing in Wales to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, travel costs and time. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, 15, 137–138.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lindberg, D. A., & Humphreys, B. L. (2008). Rising expectations: Access to biomedical information. Yearbook of Medical Informatics, 47(3), 165–72.Google Scholar
  21. Lu, L. T., Wernick, I. K., Hsiao, T., Yu, Y. H., Yang, Y. M., & Ma, H. W. (2006). Balancing the life cycle impacts of notebook computers: Taiwan’s experience. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 48, 13–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Nnorom, I. C., & Osibanjo, O. (2008). Electronic waste (e-waste): Material flows and management practices in Nigeria. Waste Management, 28(8), 1472–1479.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Nutley, S., Walter, I., & Davies, H. T. O. (2003). From knowing to doing: A framework for understanding the evidence-into-practice agenda. Evaluation, 9(2), 125–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Scott, R. E., Rush, B., & Adamowicz, W. (2003). Environmental impact – A new perspective on e-Health. Paper presented at the 6th annual Canadian Society of Telehealth conference, Halifax, Nova Scotia; 5–7 Oct 2003.Google Scholar
  25. Scott, R. E., Perverseff, T., & Lefebre, N. (2009). Reducing environmental impact: An example of how e-Health can reduce environmental impact and concomitantly improve health. In: Dr. R. H. Hamou & Dr. S. A. Anwar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 1st annual conference on e-Health: The virtual dimensions of health and environment – Empower, enhance, enforce (pp. 101–110). April, 2009. (ISBN: 978-9948-03-638-8).Google Scholar
  26. Scott, R. E., Saunders, C., Palacios, M., Nguyen, D. T., & Ali, S. (2010). Healthy e-health? Think ‘environmental e-health’! Studies in Health Technology and Informatics, 161, 132–138.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Tetroe, J. (2007). Knowledge translation at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research: A primer. Focus Technical Brief #18. Available at: Accessed 12 Aug 2011.
  28. U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (2008). Fact Sheet on National Data Center Energy Efficiency Information Program, 2008. Available at: Accessed 15 Aug 2011.
  29. University of Ottawa. (2004). WHO Collaborating Center for Health Technology Assessment. Equity oriented toolkit  ∼  knowledge translation and implementation tools. July, 2004.Google Scholar
  30. Wegener, H. (2007). Harnessing the perils in cyberspace: Who is in charge? Disarmament Forum, 3, 45–52.Google Scholar
  31. WHO. (2006). Bridging the “Know–Do” Gap. Meeting on knowledge translation in global health 10–12 Oct 2005. Geneva/Switzerland: WHO Document Production Services.Google Scholar
  32. Williams, E., Kahhat, R., Allenby, B., Kavazanjian, E., Kim, J., & Xu, M. (2008). Environmental, social, and economic implications of global reuse and recycling of personal computers. Environmental Science & Technology, 42(17), 6446–6454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Yellowlees, P. M., Chorba, K., Burke-Parish, M., Wynn-Jones, H., & Nafiz, N. (2010). Telemedicine can make healthcare greener. Telemedicine Journal and e-Health, 16(2), 229–232.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Scott
    • 1
  • Chad Saunders
    • 2
  • Mone Palacios
    • 3
  • Duyen Nguyen
    • 4
  • Sajid Ali
    • 4
  1. 1.Health Sciences Centre University of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.Haskayne School of Business, Faculty of Management Information Systems, and Department of Community Health Sciences, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  3. 3.Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, G012, Health Sciences CentreUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  4. 4.Department of Community Health Sciences, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

Personalised recommendations