Skip to Content
Business Trends
Author's profile photo Michael Byczkowski

What does the SAP Health Product Strategy update “to support hybrid, modular healthcare system landscapes” mean to customers and partners, and why they should evaluate and adopt now?

The recent update of the SAP Health Product Strategy pertains to roadmap items only, meaning developments SAP considers releasing in the future. SAP Patient Management, known under its acronym IS-H, including its localizations, stays completely untouched and continues to follow the SAP Business Suite 7 mainstream maintenance until 2027 with optional extended maintenance until end of 2030.

Which concerns have been raised regarding the prior strategy?

SAP Patient Management customers, specifically in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, demand choice and guidance regarding their future ERP landscape, not to be limited to cloud-only but also including on-premise and hybrid environments as options. They also call for flexibility in working with their hospital information system vendor of choice, an established technical integration with SAP S/4HANA and following applicable local data protection standards is key. Trust, stability, and continued transparency associated with the SAP Health Product roadmap, ensuring continuity of current and future IT infrastructure investments is expected as well as clarity regarding timelines and investments when planning for their individual, customer-specific roadmap to transition to SAP S/4HANA, in close collaboration with SAP Consulting and/or SAP services partners is crucial.

What are the updated plans?

SAP plans to provide an HL7®FHIR® interface on SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP) with connectivity to SAP S/4HANA and Analytics, in addition to the existing APIs for on-premise deployments, thus enabling hospital information system vendors to connect their clinical to SAP solutions. In line with its corporate product strategy, SAP invests into developing an open healthcare partner ecosystem, inviting partners of all types to join as part of the existing SAP partner engagement models. SAP offers an attractive proposition to partners managing “healthcare data centers” through RISE with SAP, S/4HANA Private Cloud Edition Customer Data Center Option, including Application Management Services.

What are the objectives regarding our customers?

The objective of the SAP Health Product Strategy is to provide our current as well as future customers, with a modular healthcare system landscape to run their ERP processes on SAP together with an open healthcare partner ecosystem. This enables our customers to benefit from the modular hospital information landscape of the future. Covering customers‘ own patient accounting and clinical processes, SAP enables customer choice to work with their preferred hospital information system vendor connected to SAP‘s Intelligent Suite through the FHIR interface. With this decision, SAP provides SAP Patient Management customers increased flexibility and a solid foundation to plan their own transition to SAP S/4HANA prior to end of maintenance of SAP Business Suite.

What are the objectives regarding our partners?

The open healthcare partner ecosystem strategy provides the partner community with the opportunity to holistically complement their portfolio and service offerings, generating increased target market reach as well as increased customer lifetime value. Partners can lead with their domain expertise, servicing an industry under pressure, and by providing innovative industry solutions built on SAP technology, addressing specific healthcare customer challenges. Hospital information system partners could position the integration between their clinical solutions and the SAP Intelligent Suite enabling value-add and innovative use cases as a strong and unique selling proposition to their installed-base customers as well as to prospects. With that comprehensive offering, they can address hospital chains and health customers of all sizes, even across the industry’s boundaries. SAP decided to leave the development of patient accounting and administration as well as clinical applications to partners.

And what remains the same?

SAP is absolutely committed to supporting our customers and partners in the healthcare industry and actively listens to their voices, continuing to offer the broadest choices possible, not only regarding deployment and integration options but also partner solutions. – SAP also honors its existing commitments to the solution SAP Patient Management, a trusted solution proven in the market for more than 25 years.

What is the recommendation now?

As system landscapes strongly vary in complexity, in heterogeneity, solutions, operations and requirements there is obviously no one-size-fits-all approach. However, for customers running SAP Business Suite and SAP Patient Management it is recommended to develop and execute a strategy that first focuses on and builds out a stable, next generation Digital Core on SAP with S/4HANA, Business Technology Platform and Analytics at its center – hybrid, to the extent needed to be best prepared for business innovations to come.

With SAP Patient Management side-by-side, which is in use by many customers already, the right capabilities exist to facilitate a smooth transition now while securing a stable operation and End-to-End process support. Customers should use the transition phase to consolidate custom developments, other solutions, and legacy systems, define and implement new state of the art end-to-end processes, and connect departmental and special solutions to this Digital Core. Additionally, this leads to the opportunity to infuse sustainability into each process, make supply chains and procurement processes resilient for today’s and future challenges, take action for workforce and patient experience and benefit from growing business networks. On the other hand partners get the necessary time to adapt, develop and integrate their solutions based on the latest healthcare interoperability standards and this will result in more and better offerings going forward.

With this, customers will have more time, resources and offerings to choose from and can implement the best modular Clinical Information System incl. patient accounting for their requirements. While inevitably coming with initial efforts and investment requirements, it will ultimately result in stability moving forward.  The journey can be started already today to reduce complexity and risks for subsequent challenges and innovations.

With those clear directions in place, now it is time to plan your individual strategy to design and execute your own modular hospital information system of the future!


Assigned Tags

      You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.
      Author's profile photo Jesús Antonio Santos Giraldo
      Jesús Antonio Santos Giraldo

      And how does Cerner's I.S.H.Med fits into this long term equation?

      Author's profile photo Jan Korten
      Jan Korten

      First of all: for Cerner the same maintenance timelines apply as for SAP Business Suite - there is no impact of latest decisions on neither SAP Patient Management nor Cerner availability for our customers.

      For the future SAP clearly aims for a platform that enables any EMR vendor to provide their systems to the modular Hospital IT system of the future - this is not new but has been communicated before.

      SAP wants the partner ecosystem to be open, providing choice between different EMRs - and now also components for patient billing / patient accounting. SAP strongly believes this is to the mutual benefit of our customers and partners.

      We would love to see Cerner participating in our open partner ecosystem in future - as we welcome others - but of course the details always need to be decided and communicated by our partners.

      Author's profile photo Jesús Antonio Santos Giraldo
      Jesús Antonio Santos Giraldo

      Thanks, Jan, for your comments.

      I really do hope Cerner, given Oracle's recent acquisition, continues collaborating in the healthcare ecosystem in the long term, "especially" with SAP.


      Author's profile photo Detlef Schnell
      Detlef Schnell

      If you read this message correctly, it is mainly an announcement of the discontinuation of an excellent and well-established product (IS-H), without SAP offering a successor product for patient management and patient billing.

      As a result, several hundred hospitals must find and implement new solutions for patient management and patient billing in a timeframe of 5 years.

      In some markets, these solutions don't even exist yet. Where will the resources for dozens of concurrent customer projects come from?

      I as a customer and IS-H user for 27 years don't see the slightest benefit from this and imho it's definitely not good news

      Author's profile photo Jesús Antonio Santos Giraldo
      Jesús Antonio Santos Giraldo

      "IS-H" and "I.S.H.Med" should not be discontinued... That would be disastrous in every sense...

      But "Only Time" will tell...


      Author's profile photo Detlef Schnell
      Detlef Schnell


      But it's not necessary for "time" to tell, because SAP already told us in the text above:

      Quote: "SAP decided to leave the development of patient accounting and administration as well as clinical applications to partners."

      Since billing and patient management are exactly the main functions that we customers use and need IS-H for, this statement corresponds to a discontinuation of IS-H

      And yes, SAP assures us that IS-H will remain in mainstream maintenance until 2027. Fine.

      But that's only 5 years. 5 years is not a long time to replace a business-critical product for which there are currently very few alternatives.

      Especially - as i said before - considering the fact that there are a three-digit number of IS-H customers who all need to implement an alternative solution within 5 years.