The need for embedding learning in healthcare projects

Service delivery in the healthcare sector is ultimately affected by the built infrastructure provided to support it. In order for a hospital environment to function optimally, there is a need to investigate how a learning culture can be nurtured within the design, construction and occupancy of healthcare facilities so that its effect on the healing process of patients can be managed. A large focus of attention currently within the research domain concerning knowledge management and organisational learning within construction is centred on learning from buildings in use and post occupancy evaluation (POE). Interestingly, however, there has been little focus on capturing lessons learnt from the construction phase of projects and even less on how these lessons can be fed back to form inputs into the design stage of future projects. Particular opportunities lie in capturing `lessons learnt' from projects in relation to the build quality of the final product. This could be particularly important in informing the future buildability of healthcare projects. The aim of this research is to examine how lessons learnt arising from specifically the construction phase of healthcare infrastructure projects can be captured and fed back to designers in particular and in some cases the client. This is in order to create a learning culture and help improve the quality of future healthcare facilities/infrastructure. This paper reports on a critical synthesis of the organisational learning literature, primarily focusing on identifying the potential benefits for embedding such a learning culture in project-based environments specifically concentrated within a healthcare infrastructure context. Through this literature synthesis a significant case for improving project-based organisational learning within healthcare infrastructure is provided and recommendations for the need for further empirical investigation are made.