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Author's profile photo Claudius Metze

SAP BI for Healthcare (reloaded) – an interview

After SAP’s acquisition of Business Objects our Healthcare Solution Management in Walldorf team was very pleased to see that our new colleagues were very active in Healthcare. I thought it was about time to give our BPX community some insight into what’s going on in this field and also introduce some of the key people. So today I am very happy to share with you a conversation between Michaela Sittig, Solution Manager at SAP responsible for BI and Chris Christy, Global Healthcare Marketing Director of Marketing, and myself.

I realize that both of you are new members in BPX, tell us a little bit about yourself and your role in SAP and Business Objects!
Chris: I have worked in the healthcare field practically all of my career.  This is my second ‘tour of duty’ with SAP, I was fortunate enough to work for SAP in the Healthcare Vertical from 1999-2002, before I joined Business Objects in 2002.  Most of my career has been in senior administrative roles within Hospitals.
Michaela: I am with SAP and the Healthcare Solution Management team for 10 years now. First I was responsible for the integration of SAP Patient Management with Management Accounting. Later my main area of responsibilities turned to SAP Business Intelligence for Healthcare. Before I joined SAP I worked at Bearing Point (formerly KPMG) as healthcare business consultant.

Can you give us some insights into Business Objects solutions for Healthcare?
Chris: The whole concept of performance improvement is ideally suited for Healthcare.  Healthcare globally is under a lot of pressure from all constituents to deliver value to the patient with the limited dollars available to pay for care.

Seems to be a good opportunity to combine forces. So why is Business intelligence so important to healthcare providers?
Michaela: Well, in general the pressure on healthcare providers is increasing dramatically. Budget reductions require hospitals to lower costs, to decrease length of stay and optimize business activities. From my experience cost pressure and the demand on cost transparency was the starting point of Business Intelligence to become a requirement in the healthcare market. Today many other additional indicators drive a hospitals success. Medical quality is one of the critical success factors and patient satisfaction is becoming more and more important. The main issue is that most of the information is stored in different formats at different places. Thus, there is an essential need for reliable and consistant information of high quality in order to make substantiated decisions.
Chris: Business Objects allows provides to have the type of information that they need to make decisions about their operations in a timely manner.  One of the drivers in most healthcare facilities is to keep costs low through shorter inpatient stays.  When the patient is in the hospital for only 5 or 6 days, important decisions around staffing and use of supplies can’t be made on a monthly basis.  Insight is need much quicker, certainly on a daily basis and in some cases, more frequently than that.

You both work globally. Michaela, you’re based in EMEA, Chris you are working out of the U.S. – from your perspective what are the differences, if any, between customers in these two regions?
Chris: Modern Hospitals worldwide operate in a very similar manner.   The key difference from country to country is how the care is funded.  The US has a system that is based on free market economics, which has both advantages and disadvantages.  Most of the other countries in the world either have a single payer system, or a mix of public and private funding.  From the operational point of view, there are common drivers on the expense side of the financial profiles.  In other words, every hospital in the world wants to appropriately and efficiently staff their facility, as well as procure supplies in a cost effective manner.  Any medical procedures performed may have some variations in care plans, but modern medicine has a somewhat narrow band of generally acceptable care, so treatment pattern don’t vary that much from country to country.
Michaela: I absolutely agree.

Chris, what is your view on SAP for Healthcare and SAP as a company in general?
Chris: SAP has a strong set of business transformation solutions for the Healthcare industry.  They have proven this many times in the European and Asia Pacific Market.  The strength of SAP as a company enables the level of investment necessary to provide high quality, market driven software solutions that meet the needs of providers worldwide.

After getting to know Chris and Business Objects – what do you think of this latest addition to our Healthcare solution offering?
Michaela: Business Objects enriches our SAP and Business Intelligence for Healthcare solution in many areas. For example easy to use and intuitive Xcelsius Dashboards and Crystal Reports, I think, are very attractive for administrative as well as clinical users in a hospital.
Chris:… or patients …  have look at this!

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This looks cool. Thanks to both of you! I am always happy to see new contributors in BPX – one last question from my side: Can the community influence your future topic selection?
Chris: We would welcome any feedback on our topics shown here.  I continually keep up to date with the changing environment in Healthcare and see new trends emerge, and would like to keep our readers up to date about these trends as well.  In addition, if there are specific topics of interest to readers, we can definitely respond to their requests.

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