Insights Blog Spire Healthcare

Case Study

Spire Healthcare

Helping deliver exceptional patient services

Company Overview

Spire Healthcare is a leading provider of private healthcare, with 38 hospitals and 10 clinics throughout the UK. The company is built on a proud heritage of over 25 years’ experience of running successful private hospitals and specialist clinics.

Spire employs over 7,600 people nationwide and treats over 930,000 patients each year. They work with over 3,000 of the country’s most experienced consultant surgeons and other specialists to deliver tailored, personalised care to patients.

Project Overview

As one of the UK’s leading healthcare service providers, Spire faced an unprecedented challenge – balancing high-quality healthcare services with increased government regulations, rising patient expectations and a demand for cost control.

As part of a systems modernisation programme, started in early 2012, Spire has embarked on the implementation of SAP solutions for their back office administration. The SAP solution being implemented includes SAP Enterprise Resource Planning, SAP Supply Chain and SAP IS-H.

SAP IS-H is a state-of-the-art software solution tailored to the specific standards, processes and unique challenges of the healthcare industry. It supports patient management, medical and nursing documentation, and patient accounting, and integrates these with evaluations of patient and hospital data that can be used both internally and externally.

IS-H works in unison with SAP’s best business practices and process, alongside SAP back office applications and has been developed from many years of working with major global healthcare providers and industry leaders to help organisations such as Spire improve patient services.

Why Qualitest

Organisations such as Spire are under pressure from their respective partners, legislative bodies and patients to meet increasing compliance standards. The range of services they offer result in Spire being directly answerable to a number of bodies who all enforce different statutory regulations. As such, their systems, processes and reporting must comply with increasingly complex and ever-changing demands.

Qualitest is an independent testing company, whose proven methodology, strategic partnerships and collaborative approach are industry benchmarks for the delivery of testing services for SAP with clear and tangible benefits. The quality and speed of access to patient data remains at the core of Spire’s business requirements. Any modification, upgrades or changes can introduce significant risks and require detailed planning, analysis and testing. Qualitest is working with Spire to re-think existing problems and provide innovative and creative solutions to mitigate the impact of any potentially disruptive processes.

Qualitest’s unique understanding of the Healthcare IT environment has allowed them to work closely with all stakeholders in the Spire organisation, including their external Systems Integrators, project managers, the SAP IS-H development team and end users to ensure a positive outcome.

Qualitest Solution

  • Performance Management
  • Consulting Services


  • HP LoadRunner


Spire is moving to SAP from a 15 year-old legacy computer system. The SAP system being implemented comprises ECC6.0, IS-H, and BI – including Business Objects and Business Planning and Consolidation (BPC).

This project, the first implementation of IS-H in the UK, started with a ‘pilot’ installation for one hospital followed by the implementation of the remaining 36 sites going live successfully on April 2013.

Spire made extensive use of the HP LoadRunner performance tool together with Qualitest specialized SAP testing services in the pre-live testing phases with great success. Qualitest consultants were deployed on-site within days of the initial engagement and the SAP Account team were able to provide a temporary licence key for LoadRunner which allowed Qualitest to immediately begin work defining the required performance scripts.

The performance tests immediately started to show some issues with the SAP systems performance. Spire is renowned for their high level of customer services and the data gained from the LoadRunner input enabled these problems to be quickly resolved.

Further analysis and remedial work has been on-going and Qualitest continued to provide advice and guidance on several subsequent issues.


This programme of work proved to be a valuable learning experience  as the first IS-H implementation in the UK, responsive collaboration with the SAP development team was crucial.

As a result a large number of additional enhancements were implemented; many delivered as a direct result of the work done by Qualitest.

  • Business-critical issues which would have rendered the system unviable were identified and fixed before Go Live.
  • Efficiencies in both testing time and costs were achieved from robust, structured performance testing with reusable test structures providing additional future governance.
  • Improved quality of data ensures effective decision making and outcomes.

“During the latter stages of the performance testing undertaken by Qualitest, the ‘Clinical Report’ (a key report for each hospital operation), was found to be taking an excessively long time (minutes) to run which would have been unacceptable in the live system. The Qualitest consultants took ownership of the issue and were instrumental in working closely with the SAP IS-H development team to deliver a fix which reduced the run-time down to below two seconds. The engagement with Qualitest has been a very positive experience.

Sean Conroy
Head of IT Technical Strategy & Business Projects
Spire Healthcare

Future Plans

Spire is one of the five leading UK private hospital groups which have formed an alliance dedicated to providing better healthcare by complementing the services provided by the NHS. The Private Hospitals Alliance (PHA) aims to engage constructively with the government and regulators to develop new ways in which the public and private sectors can work together for the benefit of all patients.

The industry was valued at £5 billion in 2010 and overall market growth is sensitive to the economy and the relative cost of private health insurance. However, demand is likely to be stimulated by increased day surgery facilities, access to the latest treatments and capacity in the NHS.

Spire continues to build on its strong commissioner relationships and successfully renewed all of its elective NHS contracts. They have been supporting the NHS to help reduce their waiting times by making further spare capacity available to Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and believe private healthcare can and will play an important role in the development of a robust, integrated UK care system.

Now the core SAP systems have been successfully integrated across all sites there are plans to implement an inventory management system providing an audit trail for all patient medicine and treatment plans.