Big Data in Healthcare: Connecting the Dots Between Diagnostic, Admin, Clinical Systems

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — The delivery of healthcare services in Africa is under pressure to change, and no-one can be certain how the industry will evolve. What is certain is that future trends will be driven by access to Big Data, to shape new models of care in driving innovative, affordable and accessible services, across this diverse continent. With 1,2 billion people, many enjoying a longer life, and the rise of NCDs (non-communicable diseases such as Cancer, Diabetes, Respiratory, Cardiovascular) there is a growing recognition of the importance of digital innovation in delivering curative and preventive care.

According to Charmaine Odendaal, Healthcare Practice Lead at SAP Africa, the transition to digital healthcare offers opportunities to aggregate patient data from multiple sources – for example, from external healthcare providers and specialists who consult to the patient – to give them a single, accurate patient profile. “This allows healthcare professionals to quickly connect all the dots in a patient’s care, with a view to focusing on optimum outcomes for the patient. In fact, a study in the Journal of Neurology found that putting a digital core at the heart of a healthcare provider, can result in 40% faster checking of medical records during preparation and post-processing of ward rounds in hospital.”

Africa: challenges (and opportunity) abounds

 Africa is characterised by pockets of healthcare excellence, despite each country in Africa being faced with specific challenges. The focus is on the Public Health System being required to deliver healthcare services that improve patient outcomes at the most optimal cost.   But, adds Odendaal, it is essential to recognise that many citizens in Africa live outside urban centres. “We believe that technology will make a real difference in supporting the access to care. From testing to remote patient monitoring to helping patients navigate the healthcare system with digital services.   Empowering patients and communities to take an active role in monitoring and managing their health.”

World-leading advance in cancer screening

The power of using a technology platform to improve the delivery of care to patients in Africa was brilliantly illustrated by the Emerging Technologies in Cervical Cancer Screening (ETiCCS) solution, developed by the Heidelberg University Hospital and leveraging SAP’s technology platform. ETiCCS focuses on identifying women at risk of cervical cancer and delivering end-to-end care by leveraging a cloud-based platform that makes data entry simple and access to patient data and test results immediately available to medical professionals – no matter where they are.

SAP Africa’s Managing Director: East Africa, Dr Gilbert Saggia, said of the solution: “The potential for cloud-based technology solutions such as SAP Cloud Platform to transform the healthcare profession is unprecedented. It is hugely inspiring to see how the combination of expert research, local knowledge and modern technology can make an immediate and invaluable impact on the welfare of our citizens. We are excited to support the rollout of the ETiCCS solution to other countries by providing the technology backbone to this game-changing medical innovation.”

For Odendaal, the success of ETiCCS is further proof of the key role that technology can play in addressing the continent’s healthcare challenges. “Our technology powers more than 50 healthcare providers across Africa, and nearly 8 000 globally. We are using the global best practice learned from customers worldwide and adapting it to the African context. This puts the continent’s healthcare industry in a great position to leapfrog some of the problems experienced by the more developed markets to fast-track the delivery of connected healthcare to African citizens.”

Retaining scarce healthcare talent

The digital transformation of the healthcare industry is enabling healthcare professionals to reimagine their work. Physicians are increasingly becoming the facilitators of care across the entire care process, while nurses assume greater responsibility by leaving routine tasks to automated systems and focusing on being personal caregivers.

Odendaal says that the shortfall in global healthcare professionals means doctors and healthcare staff are often overworked. “The issue of overworked doctors is a global challenge for the healthcare profession and made headlines in South Africa recently, when it emerged that some junior doctors were working up to 300 hours per month. New digital tools allow hospitals to automate repetitive administrative tasks and allowing their healthcare professionals to get the most from their professional training and focus on patient care. With such intense competition for healthcare talent at a global level, allowing doctors and specialists to focus on their highest-value activities – diagnosis, treatment, care – puts hospitals in a great position to attract and retain scarce skills.”


For more information, visit the SAP News Center. Follow SAP on Twitter at @sapnews.


About SAP

As market leader in enterprise application software, SAP (NYSE: SAP) helps companies of all sizes and industries run better. From back office to boardroom, warehouse to storefront, desktop to mobile device – SAP empowers people and organizations to work together more efficiently and use business insight more effectively to stay ahead of the competition. SAP applications and services enable more than 345,000 business and public sector customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and grow sustainably. For more information, visit www.sap.com.


# # #

Any statements contained in this document that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements as defined in the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “forecast,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “project,” “predict,” “should” and “will” and similar expressions as they relate to SAP are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. SAP undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations. The factors that could affect SAP’s future financial results are discussed more fully in SAP’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including SAP’s most recent Annual Report on Form 20-F filed with the SEC. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of their dates.


© 2017 SAP SE. All rights reserved. SAP and other SAP products and services mentioned herein as well as their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP SE in Germany and other countries. Please see http://www.sap.com/corporate-en/legal/copyright/index.epx#trademark for additional trademark information and notices.


Note to editors:

To preview and download broadcast-standard stock footage and press photos digitally, please visit www.sap.com/photos. On this platform, you can find high resolution material for your media channels. To view video stories on diverse topics, visit www.sap-tv.com. From this site, you can embed videos into your own Web pages, share video via email links, and subscribe to RSS feeds from SAP TV.


For customers interested in learning more about SAP products:

South Africa: +27 11 235 6000

Kenya: +254 706 758764


For more information, press only:

Ansophie Strydom, SAP Africa, +27 (11) 235 6000, a.strydom@sap.com

Adam Hunter, Clarity Communications, +27 (711) 787 035, adam@claritycomms.co.za