COVID-19 changes and challenges: interview with Siemens Healthineers CIO

The COVID-19 emergency has changed the ways almost everybody works, and companies have had to adapt to all kinds of new practices – no matter what industry they are in. Orange CEO Helmut Reisinger discussed changes and challenges faced by a leading healthcare company with Dr. Stefan Henkel, CIO of Siemens Healthineers.

“IT strategy, collaboration, people,” said Dr. Stefan Henkel. These were the three critical elements that Siemens Healthineers focused on to manage their way through the COVID-19 situation. Driving digital enablement through the right network, cybersecurity, and platform architecture, as many companies have found during the emergency, helps you keep your business running.

“Collaboration with experts like Markus Holzheimer from the Siemens IT infrastructure team and the external partners like, in particular, Orange Business Services, who supported us in the preparations for mass working from home and ensured the performance of our digital capabilities during this crisis,” says Dr. Stefan Henkel.

In addition to team work with strategic partners in its ecosystem, collaboration has also proved essential to Siemens Healthineers for keeping colleagues working productively together. Unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) tools have made the shift from a useful business tool to an absolute business essential as remote working became the new normal.

Being a healthcare company in a global health crisis

Siemens Healthineers develops innovative technologies and services in areas as diverse as diagnostic and therapeutic imaging, laboratory diagnostics and molecular medicine, as well as digital health and enterprise services. They enable healthcare providers on their journey towards expanding precision medicine, transforming care delivery, and improving patient experience, all through digital healthcare.

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen Siemens Healthineers need to change its ways of working but remain agile and pragmatic in responding to high demands for critical medical equipment that needed to be delivered as soon as possible. “We are one of the market leaders in the med-tech industry,” says Dr. Henkel. “We have an obligation to our customers, the healthcare providers.”

Digital transformation delivers resilience

Another thing Helmut and Dr. Henkel discussed was the need for resilience: nobody could have seen the COVID-19 emergency coming, but some companies were better prepared than others. Dr. Henkel explains that Siemens Healthineers was well positioned to emerge from the crisis successfully due to their advanced digital transformation.

“We found that IT has risen from a mandatory element within our company to become a lever of innovation,” said Dr. Henkel. The discussion also covered thoughts on how the post-COVID-19 business landscape might look, and how long-established processes and habits might be augmented with enhanced agility and innovation that were enforced by the crisis.

Changes and challenges

Dr. Henkel talks about the role of IT in the COVID-19 crisis and how it might change in the future, plus how digital transformation might be built on the back of the current emergency. “It will be seen as one of the major levers where we need to drive proactive investments in order to enable growth and improvements in our services and capabilities for the future. So in this regard, there is one post-COVID-19 effect which is positive. Hopefully, as a society we’ll see more than one positive effect.”

“This reminds me of our digital with a human touch approach at Orange,” says Helmut Reisinger. “And I think we’ll see you continue to drive innovation at Siemens Healthineers like you have done in the past.”

Will there be a new normal? Many workers want to return to “normal” but things may not be as straightforward as that. Remote working and the acceptance of remote working as a “new normal” could be necessary in the healthcare sector moving forward. Will IT be seen as a driver of innovation and growth as the world emerges from the COVID-19 crisis? One of the world’s leading healthcare provisioners gives their thoughts.

Watch the interview video as Helmut Reisinger and Dr. Stefan Henkel discuss digital, the changes and challenges COVID-19 has brought to business and how Siemens Healthineers is navigating a successful way through it, or download the video transcript.

Glenn Le Santo
Glenn Le Santo

Editor in Chief, International, at Orange Business Services. I'm in charge of our International website and the English language blogs at Orange Business Services. In my spare time I'm literally captain of my own ship, spending my time on the wonderful rivers and canals of England.