As we all know there are plenty of challenges in Healthcare. And while most of them are raising concerns (e.g. about financial sustainability of healthcare systems) I do think that some of the challenges also create plenty of new opportunities (e.g. use technology to help researchers fight the big diseases of our time).
As 2013 comes to a close I took some time to reflect about innovations in the past 12 months and SAP’s role as one of the leading technology vendors.
Successful innovation requires a couple of pre-requisites but at the heart and core are three factors:
Desirability – people need to want it
Feasibility – of course we need to make sure it can be done
Viability – at the end it will only work if there is a financial justification (either additional gains or savings)
I feel that in the past we sometimes emphasized feasibility over desirability and viability, but I believe we have made big progress especially in the area of desirability. I got very positive feedback whenever we presented our developments - actually people often encouraged us to "do more of this" or commented that they see us "on the right track again".
Our current development focus
In 2013 we wanted to strike a balance between development investment into our existing solutions and the development of net new solutions. In my opinion there is still a huge potential in our existing solutions if we manage to increase the usage by getting closer to the end users, close functional gaps and reduce implementation hurdles. With Customer Connection and in working with the SAP user groups we continued the extensive dialogue with our customers.
With SAP HANA as foundation for our existing portfolio we cannot only increase the performance by orders of magnitude – it can also be very viable to migrate from a traditional relational DB to state-of-the-art in-memory technology. Hence, the release of SAP HANA as DB for SAP Patient Management and Siemens i.s.h.med was a remarkable milestone for our development. And we are very proud to see the first hospitals productive with SAP HANA.
Let me share two other concrete examples of innovation in our existing portfolio: first, SAP Fiori – a collection of the most used SAP transactions in a new UI, simple and clean and accessible from every device. I am sure that SAP Fiori will resonate very well with your business users. Especially clinical users are often frustrated with their IT systems in their stressful daily work. Complex navigation, missing information, and overloaded clinical display make clinical decisions a tough job in an environment that is characterized by hectic and overload. With Smart UI and the SAP NW Business Client Siemens i.s.h.med got to the next level. And based on the feedback of early adopters I am very confident that such innovation will contribute to a faster adoption of EMR overall.
So make sure to test both: SAP Fiori and the new look & feel of Siemens i.s.h.med.
We can also report on many new developments in the area of analytics and reporting. Just to mention two examples: SAP Lumira is a great way to visualize your data, and with SAP BusinessObjects Mobile 5.0 ubiquitous access to analytical data has been greatly improved.
Mobile - an example for openness and co-innovation to help healthcare professionals
As we all experience in our daily life mobile devices can remove barriers, connect people and help IT come much closer to the end user. So I am very happy that the number of SAP EMR Unwired users world wide increased this year, not only in Spain, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria and Germany, but also in Latin America and APJ. Our open and flexible solution approach seem to resonate quite well and so it payed off that we kept our promise supporting all major platforms. Besides iOS devices, Android (often a bit cheaper or specialized for use in Healthcare environments) and Windows 8 devices are being tested by our customers. Especially the Windows platform is welcomed by many IT departments hoping for easier integration into existing landscapes. We are also proud that our latest addition won the Tabby Award 2013 in category Healthcare.
My view is that diversity really adds value here and you as customers or partners profit most as you have real choice and are not bound to one vendor. Plus, if you consider our co-innovation framework that we have introduced this year with the SAP PartnerEdge for Application Development program you will find that choice is not only available at the device level, but also at the functional level – I expect more offerings like ICW Forms Solution for SAP EMR Unwired coming up in 2014.
We should also carefully watch progress at the device level. Maybe there will be scenarios where hands-free access to healthcare IT provides value. The platform approach makes it fairly easy from a technical point-of-view as the following prototype shows:
So make sure you load the latest version of SAP EMR Unwired and all the other productivity apps. And don’t forget to get familiar with the foundation – the new SAP Mobile Platform 3.0 with great new features.
The next part of my 2013 reflections will more closely look into how we develop innovations.