From a strategic viewpoint, the announced sale of Siemens’ hospital-IT division to Cerner for $1.3 billion is surprising.
In Siemens’ “Vision 2020” statement, which was formulated by chief executive Joe Kaeser, digitalization played a fundamental role, and Mr. Kaeser said he intended to keep the company’s medical-technology sector.
For Siemens, the hospital-IT sale represents a failure. In 2000, the German electronics and engineering company took over the U.S. firm Shared Medical Systems, which became the core of Siemens’ hospital-information technology division. The price was more than $2 billion. In subsequent years, competitors grew and earned good money, but Siemens was getting nowhere. Today, the division’s sales are at about the same level as they were in 2000.
Siemens had invested heavily in hospital IT and made great progress, said Hermann Requardt, the head of medical technology: “At the same time we must recognize that the business success of our hospital-information systems was not always able to keep up with the competition.”
Among other things, the division markets software for patient databanks. Siemens now intends to concentrate within the medical-technology sector on laboratories, therapy and imaging physics. This includes software to evaluate images from Siemens’ computed tomography systems.