Knowledge translation in oncology. a case study

Francesca Dal Mas, Helena Biancuzzi, Maurizio Massaro, Amelia Barcellini, Lorenzo Cobianchi, Luca Miceli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Knowledge translation (KT) is the ability to make knowledge accessible to different stakeholders by translating it into various contexts. Translating knowledge is particularly crucial in the healthcare sector, which is currently under significant pressure due to technological innovation, increasing demand of services by an ageing population, budget reductions, and new organisational challenges posed by the latest events like the COVID-19 pandemic. While the first definition of KT was focused on the translation of scientific research into clinical practice, other types of KT later emerged. In healthcare, while stakeholders have different skills and competencies (such as clinical scientists versus physicians or other healthcare professionals), others experience diverse emotional feelings (like the patients or their families). An effective KT allows the transfer, sharing, and creation of new knowledge, enhancing innovation and co-production dynamics. The paper employs a case study by analysing the Breast Unit of the C.R.O. National Cancer Institue of Aviano, Italy, one of the most acknowledged hospitals and research centres in Europe in the field of cancer surgery and treatments. The paper aims at studying the knowledge translation dynamics and tools by analysing the various relationships with the internal as well as the external stakeholders of the Breast Unit. Internally, knowledge translation is needed to merge the competencies of highly skilled multidisciplinary teams, which include surgeons and physicians with various specialities, researchers, psychologists, nurses and other healthcare professionals. Externally, knowledge is translated to meet the needs of patients, patients' associations, sponsors, citizens, and policymakers. Results highlight how different techniques and dynamics allow KT to happen within internal as well as external groups. Contributing to the knowledge management and knowledge translation theories, our findings open up to practical as well as research implications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-223
Number of pages12
JournalElectronic Journal of Knowledge Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Breast Cancer
  • Healthcare
  • Knowledge Translation
  • Medicine
  • Stakeholders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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