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The Swiss healthcare system: entering a new digital era

A visualisation of the pioneering solutions that inspire a digital health ecosystem

Executive Summary

Switzerland is one of the most innovative countries in the world, but when it comes to digitalisation of its healthcare system, the process of implementation is very slow. Nevertheless, the Federal Council is currently supporting the transformation with its Health2030 Strategy and its digital health promotion programme Digisanté. A central pillar of this digitalisation process is the electronic patient record (EPR) which has faced many hurdles to be implemented and adopted successfully due to the fragmented Swiss healthcare system. 

Switzerland has three main regions, which are home to digital health innovations: canton of Zurich, the Arc lémanique region and the Great Basel Area. These locations place Switzerland as a great digital health market where companies and startups choose to settle. 357 digital health startups were identified in Switzerland by the Swiss Healthcare Startup’s directory guide spanning through the entire patient journey (from prevention to diagnosis, treatment and monitoring). This correlates with the constant increase in investment in such ventures. However, these organisations face many hurdles, especially with reimbursement of their solutions, as the mechanism is complex and reimbursement for digital health solutions is not transparent.

According to our population survey, conducted in 2022, 68% of the population want to be owners of their personal health data. It is therefore key to empower patients more to better understand and use their health data through training, education and awareness-raising measures. Swiss Health Data Space, is a new initiative going in this direction, as it recruits pioneers who want to test and explore the digital healthcare infrastructure in Switzerland while keeping full control and ownership of their health data.

Digital health ecosystems are slowly emerging, for example networks of different organisations and solutions across the healthcare sector that share a digital infrastructure to ensure a seamless experience for patients. These networks increase transparency and efficiency in communication between the different actors. One such example is the Swiss Patient Journey Ecosystem Map.

Already now, numerous Swiss solutions support the overall patient empowerment, such as the four scaleups that were part of the Digital Health Academy’s 2023 cohort: Decentriq, heyPatient, Soignez-moi, and TOM Medications.

Eventually, the future of healthcare should be human-centric, fostering education and empowerment of the population to better understand their health data and navigate their digital health journey. Citizens should collaborate more with healthcare professionals, as this will strengthen their relationship and trust, as well as ensuring the continuum of care. Additionally, innovators and investors need to build symbiotic relationships as strategic investors provide valuable resources to innovators who are navigating the complex healthcare landscape; this will ensure long-term impact. Last but not least, public authorities need to set national standards and a clear framework for digital health in Switzerland, ensuring that solutions to our current problems are based on the same standards.

Chapter 1: Introduction to digital health

1.1 Background 

Switzerland is recognised as one of the most innovative countries in the world, highly ranked for many years in the IMD World Digital Competitiveness (WDC): it was ranked 5th in 2022 and in 2023 it can hold its position once again (IMD World Competitiveness Center, 2022). Similarly, Switzerland ranks 1st in the Global Innovation Index (Dutta et al., 2023), with the Index highlighting the significant R&D investment of Swiss global corporates, led by life science giants Roche and Novartis.

The Swiss healthcare system is one of the sectors in which Switzerland still lags behind in terms of digitalisation, as underlined by the “Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Digitalisation Index” (Bertelsmann Stiftung, 2019), where it was only ranked 14th. 

Digital health refers to the use of information and communications technologies in medicine and other health professions to manage illnesses and health risks and to promote wellness (Ronquillo et al., 2023). It has a broad scope, spanning through the entire patient journey (from prevention to diagnosis, treatment and monitoring) and includes mobile health apps, electronic health records, wearable devices with sensors, telemedicine and personalised medicine. Digital health has various benefits such as accessibility, accuracy, time saving and cost reduction.

The COVID-pandemic played a massive role in digital health’s growth worldwide, as new solutions were developed to support the healthcare of the population through the crisis, and a necessity to switch to at-home or minimal contact care models. Certain countries have been able to implement the necessary infrastructure and regulations required to digitalise their healthcare systems such as Estonia, Canada, Spain, Israel and Denmark. Their governments have made clear commitments to supporting the development of the sector. 

Switzerland is also trying to win back lost times by developing the digital health sector positively through various innovative solutions.

The Federal Council is currently supporting the digital transformation of healthcare in Switzerland through different ways. In the Health2030 Strategy, it defined the new health policy priorities, setting digital transformation as one of the main objectives (Federal Office of Public Health, 2019). In addition, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) are jointly developing on behalf of the Federal Council, the digital health promotion programme Digisanté (Federal Office of Public Health – Digisanté, 2023).

Switzerland is facing complexities in the introduction of digital solutions such as the electronic patient record (EPR) ( Due to its fragmented healthcare system and cantonal policies, its law has recently been placed in consultation to identify the optimal changes required for it to finally be adopted successfully by the population. As the governmental solution is taking a lot of time to be installed, healthcare players identified opportunities to launch joint consortiums to provide a digital health platform. The two biggest consortiums are Compassanna (Bluespace Ventures AG, 2023) and Well (Well Gesundheit AG, 2023). 

In recent population studies, it was clearly identified that the Swiss population is willing to share their health data digitally (Pletscher & Lerch, 2022) and onboard a digital health journey (Sternberg, 2022) given it has clear added value.

1.2 State of the digital health landscape

Switzerland’s digital health landscape has expanded in various areas over the years: telemedicine, wearables, patient records, healthy ageing, mental health, femtech, value-based healthcare and personalised medicine. 

Three principal regions are home to digital health innovations: Canton of Zurich, the Arc lémanique region and the Great Basel Area.

Zurich is the home to major technology companies, key universities in Switzerland (ETH, UZH, ZHAW) as well as many hospitals. In recent years, Zurich has grown its digital health footprint through the development of digital health hubs and incubators such as Digital Health centre in Bülach, Bluelion, and HealthTechPark in Schlieren.

L’Arc lémanique has also expanded massively, especially around Lausanne and Geneva due to the presence of  EPFL, university hospitals (CHUV and HUG) and campus of Biotech Innovation Park and Biopôle. 

Last but not least, the Great Basel area is a flourishing region, where pharmaceutical companies and medtech are closely located to the university hospital. DayOne from Basel Area has also recently grown massively and is leading a four-year Innosuisse Innobooster around digital health, the Digital Health Nation Innobooster.

These ideal locations position Switzerland as a great digital health market where companies choose to settle, and startups choose to be founded.

The digital health startup scene is also growing massively in Switzerland with 357 digital health related startups and scaleups identified in Swiss Healthcare Startups’ digital directory in October 2023 (Cortex – Swiss Healthcare Startup, 2023). Many incubators and acceleration programmes support the emergence of startups such as the Digital Health Nation Innobooster (Basel Area Business & Innovation, 2023). 

Investment into Swiss digital health startups has been steadily increasing until this year, reaching 30 investment rounds in 2022 (8% of all rounds) totalling close to 200M CHF (5% of all capital invested to Swiss startups in 2023). Just over 50% of these funds were invested into digital health startups in canton Vaud (Swiss Venture Capital Report, 2023).

One major hurdle which the startups in digital health are continuously facing is their business model, as reimbursement of digital health solutions in Switzerland is still not a transparent process. In comparison, Germany’s DiGa legislation is in place since the end of 2019 (BfArM, 2023), Belgium’s mHealth app reimbursement since 2021 (Agoria and beMedTech, 2023), and France’s PECAN legislation was approved earlier this year (2023) (Farah et al., 2023). Health applications in Switzerland that follow specific rules can be reimbursed by the basic insurance as stated in the Information Sheet provided by the Federal Office of Public Health (Federal Office of Public Health, 2022).

1.3 Citizen’s empowerment to own and understand their health data and health journey

According to digitalswitzerland’s 2022 study, which is based on the results of a population survey on the needs and fears towards the digitalisation of the Swiss healthcare system, citizens are willing to share their data digitally, given it has clear added value such as better usability (Sternberg, 2022).

It must also offer enhanced prevention, improved diagnosis and treatments and lower healthcare costs. One major finding from the study is the correlation between the level of education and the level of digital literacy and health literacy in Switzerland. 

Careum Foundation, combined both terms into a new term, digital health literacy, which is defined as the degree to which individuals are able to obtain, understand and judge health information from digital sources and use it to make decisions about their health. Careum Foundation worked on a two-year study project on health literacy (2019-2021) where they found that 72% of the Swiss population has difficulties in dealing with digital information and services and accordingly has very low levels of digital health literacy (De Gani et al., 2021).

Giving equal access to digital health competences in Switzerland should be a key focus to enable the population to feel empowered over their health data. More awareness-raising measures should be developed to support this. 

68% of the population want to be the owners of their personal health data (Sternberg, 2022). Citizens want to be in control of their health data, know who has access to it and give consent to how it can be used for research (swissethics, 2021). The electronic patient record (EPR) is going in this direction as each individual has control over who can access their health information. The Federal Act on the electronic patient record, which states the framework conditions for the EPR has recently been put in revision to be adapted and ensure a successful adoption and use within Switzerland (Federal Office of Public Health – EPRA, 2023). 

Furthermore, a new initiative was launched at the end of 2022 with Swiss Health Data Space, which recruits pioneers who want to test and explore the health data landscape in Switzerland while keeping full control and ownership of their health data (Verein Gesundheitsdatenraum Schweiz, 2022).

The future of healthcare should be human-centric with a key focus set on educating and empowering the citizens to better understand their health data and navigate their digital health journey. This enables the patient to stay in better control of his health, their wellbeing, and therefore stay healthier longer.

Chapter 2: Best-practices and topical clusters

2.1 Ecosystem approach

Digital ecosystems have disrupted many industries such as mobility, retail or media over the last years. In recent years, they have also started to appear in the digital health sector as networks of diverse organisations and solutions across the healthcare sector. They are connected by a shared digital infrastructure which ensures a seamless patient journey combining in medical data and patient generated data. These ecosystems enable disparate siloed solutions to be connected to ensure the patient has access to the best prevention, diagnostic, treatment and monitoring possible.

A digital health ecosystem ensures clear added value for the different actors (Deetjen et al., 2020):

Crucial for such digital ecosystems is the need to identify and articulate positive network effects across different user platform view, and to grow the critical mass that each one has an immediate benefit from participating in such platforms (Zhu & Iansiti, 2019).

Additionally, digital ecosystems increase transparency and efficiency in communicating between the different players to improve the overall value for the system. 

digitalswitzerland has therefore created a Swiss Patient Journey Ecosystem Map to illustrate the different digital solutions focussing on enhancing the digital patient journey and digitalisation of the healthcare system in Switzerland. This representation enables the different players to remove the gaps, identify synergies between themselves and enhance collaboration. 

The Q4 2023 map illustrates more than 80 different players distributed along the five different categories: data interoperability, health monitoring, healthcare interactions, medical data history, prevention/ awareness.

Figure 1 – The Swiss Patient Journey Ecosystem Map – Q4 2023

This map illustrates all the different solutions supporting the patient journey in Switzerland based on five categories: Health interactions, Medical Data History, Health Monitoring, Data Interoperability and Prevention/Awareness. The list is not exhaustive and is updated every quarter. 
2.2 Deep dives on best-practices

Switzerland has a great number of digital health solutions which support the overall empowerment of patients to better understand their health data and navigate their health journey. We will introduce the four key scaleups of the year: Decentriq, heyPatient, Soignez-moi and TOM Medications.


The challenge
To address the most pressing challenges in healthcare today, organisations require access to data beyond their borders. Between clinical notes, lab tests, medical images, sensor readings, genomics, electronic health records and the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), copious amounts of real-world data (RWD) are generated daily, hiding a wealth of potential insights that could lead to better treatment and diagnosis — if they would be connected. Switzerland is at the forefront of healthcare innovation, possessing a wide ecosystem composed of pharmaceutical companies, leading hospitals and startups. However, the data is often siloed due to privacy concerns and poor data interoperability, making it hard for organisations to access and utilise it. This poses a dilemma for data custodians, like hospitals, who must balance patient privacy with the potential life-saving benefits of collaborative data use.

Decentriq combines confidential computing technology with a data clean room (DCR) framework to create a comprehensive platform for secure data collaborations at scale. This platform addresses the healthcare industry’s challenges by assuring both data privacy and data usability. It allows for rapid setup of data clean rooms that merge data from various sources without ever exposing any raw data and without any special equipment needed on-site.

Confidential computing technology provides hard proof that data is always under the data custodian’s control and never accessible by anyone else — not by other organisations participating in the collaboration, nor Decentriq, nor the cloud provider. Finally, advanced privacy filters ensure that retrieved results won’t unintentionally reveal private information.

Impact on the patient
The use of RWD greatly accelerates research and development, as well as legislative decision-making processes, resulting in quicker access to more effective treatments in the market. When treatments become more targeted and administered more promptly, patients experience improved outcomes. Hospitalisations are minimised, and care providers can potentially intervene even before they become necessary thanks to improved diagnostics models. This means patients benefit from more efficient and proactive healthcare solutions.


“Decentriq’s unique solution gives us the ability to bring diverse datasets together for research while strictly preserving patient privacy. By facilitating secure analysis, their innovative approach holds the promise of improved patient outcomes and a more collaborative healthcare ecosystem.”

— Prof. Dr. med. Dirk Müller-Wieland, Director of Center for Cardiological Studies, University Clinic RWTH Aachen

Decentriq was founded by Maximilian Groth and Stefan Deml in 2019 in Zurich. They lead a team of 35 people from the company’s headquarters in Zurich and are distributed across more than 10 European countries. The company’s mission is to foster data collaboration, even with the world’s most sensitive data.

Collaboration & Partnerships
Data clean rooms powered by confidential computing have enabled the following use cases:

Development of tools to enable earlier treatment of rare diseases
Using Decentriq, data custodians from hospitals make rare disease datasets available — offering a comprehensive perspective of the patient journey without revealing patient row-level information or risking patient reidentification.

Linking clinical trial data with RWD 
With Decentriq’s DCR technology, pharmaceutical companies can combine patient data, match it to clinical trial data, and analyse the data to create more targeted treatments — all while preserving patient privacy.

Enabling transformative healthcare networks
Decentriq is providing core infrastructure enabling iCARE4CVD consortium partners to bring together data on over one million cardiovascular disease patients while ensuring patient privacy.

Research of this magnitude has the potential to transform care for the 60 million Europeans, and many more around the world, impacted by cardiovascular diseases.

Future vision of healthcare
Decentriq’s vision for the future of healthcare is one where more organisations can collaborate on health data while resting assured that this data will remain private. We look forward to seeing how these collaborations can result in pioneering research and advances in diagnostics, treatment, and patient care.


The challenge
Doctors use 80% of their time for administration, while patient-faced processes are mostly still paper-based. Healthcare costs explode and puts healthcare  service provision at stake. A joint study from McKinsey and ETH concluded that Switzerland can reach annual savings of CHF 8.2 billion per year through the use of patient-centred digital health solutions (Hämmerli et al., 2021). The potential health impact and medical utility are substantial.

heyPatient streamlines processes, relieves staff members, thus improves healthcare outcomes and reduces costs.

Impact on the patient
heyPatient’s impact on patients is significant, as it digitally accompanies patients along their journey across various healthcare providers, simplifies interaction, thus improves healthcare outcomes.

Patients’ Testimonies
Here are two quotes that capture this impact:

“With heyPatient, I no longer have to spend hours managing my healthcare appointments and paperwork. It has made my healthcare experience much more convenient.”

“heyPatient is like having a personal healthcare assistant in my pocket, it helps me manage my health by making everything from appointments to communication with healthcare staff much easier.”

heyPatient’s dedicated team consists of 12 individuals with a diverse range of expertise, who have achieved remarkable success in building a strong offering and establishing an awarded, market-proven healthcare SaaS-solution (Swiss made software) with highest customer value.

The co-founders Matthias and Regula Spuehler, both serial founders, lead in the role of CEO and COO with a strong commitment, owning over 75% of heyPatient AG.

Every team member is an expert in their field, allowing heyPatient to quickly develop and deploy value-focused services and solutions for their customers.

Collaboration & Partnerships
heyPatient is dedicated to collaboration and has achieved significant success:

Future vision of healthcare
heyPatient’s future vision for healthcare centres on the simplification of interactions with increased patient-centricity, efficiency, and digitalisation. This encompasses:


The challenge
It happens often that one is sick and cannot reach their General Practitioner (GP) or they do not have an available appointment for treatment. What can be even worse, is to wait countless hours in an emergency department (ED). has a solution to help patients in such situations.

Reaching out to a doctor has never been that easy. Soignez-moi provides a simple solution to treat everyday symptoms that drag patients down. Soignez-moi’s medical questionnaire is free of charge and its triage indicates if someone can be treated remotely or a physical consultation is required. By design, Soignez-moi is a patient-centric and fully digital company where the patient decides his journey and is in charge of their data. They are the only provider in Switzerland that can send prescriptions directly to patients, thus allowing them to choose freely where they want to get their medicine. Their triage module is also extremely customisable and allows hospitals to improve patients’ flow in the emergency department. By better defining the level of emergency ahead and thanks to their modular approach, a hospital can better plan certain cases (pre-defined symptom or group of symptoms), or refer patients to various care centres, depending on infrastructure and available personnel.

How it works
Soignez-moi provides a simple and intuitive solution:

  1. Patients simply go to and answer a medical questionnaire to find out if they can be treated remotely.
  2. A doctor then calls the patient within the hour, and if needed, they receive an electronic prescription to go to the pharmacy of their choice.
  3. The patient might even perform some exam/test in one of 180 partner pharmacies to identify the best treatment.
  4. A consultation report is sent to the patient’s GP and Soignez-moi follow up on the case 48h later to check on the progress of the treatment.

Business Model
For a flat fee of CHF 59 reimbursed by the mandatory health insurance (if any, the exam/test are also covered by mandatory health insurance).

Impact on the patient
The impact on patients is huge since they have direct access to a doctor within a couple of minutes and thus can be treated and relieved. The best way to ensure that a solution has a real impact on people is to perform a survey. Soignez-moi therefore send a satisfaction survey one week after the consultation of a patient ended. 40% of their patients filled in this questionnaire and more than 95% rate their experience with 4 stars . 

Patients’ Testimonies

“Fast, proactive and efficient. I would use the service again without hesitation given the difficulty of obtaining a physical appointment with a general practitioner.”

“It was really fast and I really appreciated the doctor I had on the phone, very understanding and attentive!”

Soignez-moi has a very seasoned team that supports their vision. Just within the founders, they have more than 50 years of healthcare experience. The team includes a dedicated team of developers all coming from Lausanne. Their medical protocols have been validated scientifically by the Notfall Zentrum of Inselspital, thus giving credibility to the work performed by their doctors.

Collaboration & Partnerships
Soignez-moi have treated more than 23,000 patients over the last three years and have been able to conclude renowned partnerships in the Swiss French part. They are the telemedicine provider for Réseau Delta (>950 registered GPs), Medbase Romandie, Hôpital la Tour, Hôpital de Réseau Neuchâtelois, Hôpital Jules Gonin, etc.

Future vision of healthcare
The future of healthcare for is a dynamic landscape where advanced technologies, personalised medicine and patient engagement converge to redefine the delivery of services. From AI-driven diagnostics to genomics-based treatments, this future promises a holistic and interconnected approach focused on prevention and individual well-being.

TOM Medications

The challenge
Only 10% of patient’s disease therapy is monitored today by doctors, hospitals or insurances. 90% lies in the darkness of the patient’s privacy. Uncontrolled. Unobserved. What is seen as a crucial problem in advancing the future of medicine is not access to accurate real-life data. All patient information is captured in specific time-boxes, and we have no idea how patients behave and what happens in their everyday lives outside of the surveillance of doctors and pharmacists. Currently, there is a black box of information about patients, which is needed in order to truly deliver personalised medicine.

TOM Medications wants to advance personalised medicine, by building a real-world evidence platform, the «TOM insights» platform. At the core of their technology lies high-quality real-world data, sourced from the TOM app. These patient-generated data undergo rigorous analysis to yield intuitive insights into various aspects of healthcare, including disease progression, patient experiences, medication adherence, disease burden, treatment pathways, treatment effectiveness, and the cost of care.

Recognising the need to capture previously untapped information, they designed the TOM app with a focus on engagement, drawing from feedback from over 20,000 patients. This approach has resulted in a highly engaged patient community, with an app stickiness of up to 71% surpassing even social media giants like Twitter (41%), and comparable to Facebook (66%), and WhatsApp (84%).  Patients use TOM as their companion throughout their disease management, resulting in an enormous pool of patient health data over a long period of time.

Through this commitment to gathering and analysing authentic patient experiences, TOM Medications drive healthcare advancements firmly rooted in real patient journeys. This approach paves the way for a personalised approach to healthcare, ultimately reshaping the way care is delivered and experienced.

Impact on the patient
Patients are already benefiting from being able to use the TOM app 100% free of charge and 100% anonymously to manage their disease, leading to more positive treatment outcomes for patients and a higher quality of life. The insights generated from the TOM Insights platform will add to the benefits since it aims to advance developments of more personalised medicine for patients. Thus, patients will get treatment tailored to their needs and improve their health.

Patients’ Testimonies

“Since I’ve been using TOM, I’ve been taking my medication more consciously and consistently! The fact that the app informs me when the medication is almost used up is awesome! I would definitely recommend it!”

“I had recently lost track of when I needed to take which medication and whether I had already taken it. Before I tried TOM, I had tried other medication apps, but I find that TOM has been much more thoughtfully created. It really has thought of everything and it helps me a lot in my everyday life.”

The team of TOM Medications currently counts 12 people, composed of pharmacists, data engineers, software developers, UX designers and business developments. Having such an interdisciplinary team is necessary to bring their vision to life. Apart from their team, they are excited to have their advisory and management board consisting of experts from the healthcare industry and science, successful entrepreneurs, as well important stakeholders, such as Galenica and Sanitas, which are their go-to partners in building a product that really fulfils a current need in the market.

Collaboration & Partnerships
TOM Medications collaborate with a two-digit number of partners from the healthcare sector, be it pharma, insurance, or research institutions. And all these collaborations have the patients’ health improvement in its centre. For instance, they collaborated with Sanitas to create an adherence programme, worked with Galenica and Mediservice to digitalise pharmacy services in the TOM app, and with the Diabetes Center Berne they collaborated in Real-World-Data.

Future vision of healthcare
Their company’s vision is clear: personalised medicine is the future of healthcare, enabling healthcare providers to shift the emphasis in medicine from reaction to prevention. But personalised medicine needs data to do so. And especially (hard to get) patient-generated data to create unique real-world insights. These insights can lead to breakthroughs in treatment strategies, the identification of previously undetected adverse effects, and the development of novel therapies tailored to individual patients’ needs. With more than 200 million patient-generated data already at the heart of the TOM evidence model, they are at the forefront of the transformation of the Swiss healthcare system.

Chapter 3: Outlook

3.1 Society: How can the Swiss population engage with digital health initiatives?

Human-centred and patient-centric design principles strive to put people at the centre of their solutions, particularly with respect to being aligned with their needs in the context of the local healthcare system(s). A majority of the population will not have been involved in the initial design phases of new digital health solutions, yet have an important role to play in refining these solutions – either through direct feedback or simply by letting the companies behind them leverage their user data to improve.

To engage with new solutions, there are often some fundamental prerequisites that enable an integrated user experience. One such enabler is the electronic patient record (EPR), which will become the gateway to many future digital health solutions. The sooner people begin to use their EPR, the sooner we reach a critical mass of people able to access digital services.

Fostering digital health literacy is therefore pivotal. Ensuring the Swiss population, especially the elderly, feels safe, and comfortable navigating these digital technologies is essential. Widespread education in the form of workshops, training programmes, and user-friendly interfaces are imperative to bridge the digital divide, as well as encouraging dialogue between those who have had initial experiences with these solutions and those who are still learning about the benefits and convenience of digital healthcare delivery.

Moreover, collaboration with healthcare professionals is also key. Building trust between patients and digital health providers can be achieved by involving local doctors and nurses in telehealth initiatives. This collaborative approach ensures that patients receive a continuum of care (including all providers from pharmacy to at home nursing by the intermediary of the hospitals) combining the advantages of both digital and traditional healthcare services.

Such collaboration can be initiated by the patients themselves too; this will encourage providers to start or continue their digital transformation initiatives. By engaging with digital health tools, the Swiss population can open the dialogue as to the pros and cons of these technologies, and together address the key questions of data privacy, data ownership and usability.

Adopting new digital health tools when in good health is a good way to become familiar with solutions before they are needed in a care setting. Once onboarded, patients can comfortably benefit from the services they offer such as online information resources, telemedical consultations or opportunities to plan and track diagnostic and therapeutic information in support of care pathways.

3.2 Business: What is needed from innovators and investors to increase impact in Swiss digital health innovation?

Digital health innovation is rarely a short-term journey. While initial (angel) investors and grant funding can help initiatives to get started, the road ahead to patient impact and profitability will be long and complicated due to decisions on which market segments and solutions to prioritise. 

Therefore, dilutive and non-dilutive investors must seek long-term impact rather than short-term gains.  Correspondingly, innovators must be prepared and equipped to articulate this impact in terms of savings and improvements to different healthcare stakeholders. 

The Swiss economy is investing heavily in hardware and software, especially in digital technologies as stated in ETH’s survey (Wörter, 2022). This is particularly the case in the digital health area with an important growth in funding of digital health companies and therefore an increasing number of venture funds entering the sector.  In startupticker VC report’s survey, it was identified that more than half of the investors invest in digitalisation topics in the healthcare sector (Swiss Venture Capital Report, 2023). 

While this year, 2023, has clearly been challenging in the Venture Capital sector, particularly for those seeking first-time investment, an increasing number of active Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) funds have begun seeking earlier stage investments. CVCs are often in the strategic position of aligning their portfolio companies with their respective corporate strategies, and therefore have an opportunity to seek close integration of innovative solutions through collaboration; both in terms of teams, customers, and data interoperability. 

To increase the impact of digital health innovation in Switzerland, a symbiotic relationship between innovators and investors of any kind is crucial. Investors can provide mentorship and resources beyond monetary support, aiding innovators in navigating the complex healthcare stakeholder landscape.

Open interfaces enable other solutions to connect and securely share data via international standards such as HL7 FHIR. Such solutions enable greater scalability as new collaborations can be integrated via these standards. This also results in an imperative for established companies to explore how to enable such data interoperability and move away from siloed data models. Cuore from Swiss Post is just one example of a platform that enables data interoperability (Swiss Post Ltd, 2023).  

In this way, innovators have the opportunity to leverage the ecosystem mindset and encourage regional and national initiatives that increase skills and enable technology which is required in key areas such as connectivity of devices within care settings. Identifying solutions that deliver mutual benefits in the realm of digital transformation can provide industry-wide benefits as a positive externality from the implementation of one specific innovation. 

In this spirit, there is an imperative to be inquisitive about what is holding back the integration of digital health solutions and ensure even with limited resources that innovators are addressing environmental, social, and governance topics in addition to their technical solutions.

3.3 (Non-)Political: How should/will the Swiss regulatory framework around digital health evolve in the next few years?

In the coming years, the Swiss regulatory framework around digital health is poised for significant evolution. Public authorities need to set national standards and a clear framework for digital health in Switzerland together with international regulatory bodies and industry stakeholders. 

Moreover, beyond setting standards, public authorities also have a role to ensure that different players collaborate within the ecosystem to avoid Swiss citizens being obliged to use multiple disconnected applications and services. The human-centred design principles of the innovators should be considered by policymakers.

Data security and data privacy should be at the forefront of the discussions as it is important to ensure that all solutions follow strict regulations and ensure that the citizens’ data are handled appropriately. The FOPH has launched a group of experts focusing on Data management and standardisation in Switzerland (Federal Office of Public Health – Digisanté, 2023). It is key that all the different digital health solutions, which are developed, are based on the same standards and follow the international FAIR norms. The Swiss Personalised Healthcare Network has made considerable progress on making health data FAIR for secondary usage (SPHN, 2023). 

The different health solutions need to use structured interoperable data for the different systems to be able to communicate with one another efficiently. This is the only way possible to ensure that we move away from siloed solutions into ecosystems and networks of solutions that interlink with one another. Like this, each actor will be able to focus on its key added value and bring their own expertise to the healthcare ecosystem.  

Furthermore, there should be a concerted collaborative effort to establish clear guidelines and standards for digital health solutions such as telemedicine practices, home monitoring devices, and digital therapeutics. This clarity is essential for both, providers and patients, ensuring that services are safe, reliable, and accessible across the country.


The Swiss healthcare system is ready for digital transformation. Due to its great location and presence of diverse key healthcare partners, Switzerland has all the required tools to grow steadily in the digital health sector. However, this will only be possible if all the different healthcare players – patients, providers and public authorities – collaborate. 

Startups and scaleups are a very important part of the innovation process of healthcare in Switzerland, and they will continue to play an even greater role in the upcoming future as thought leaders of our evolving digital health ecosystem. 

Empowering Swiss citizens to better understand and own their health data as well as better navigate their health journey are critical to ensure equal access to digital health knowledge and positive patient outcomes for the population. Digital health solutions, such as the ones who took part in digitalswitzerland and Swiss Healthcare Startups’ Digital Health Academy 2023, are the innovators of today and tomorrow; they are the new digital health players who will enable us to achieve the next steps of digitalising the healthcare system in Switzerland by working together with the patients and other healthcare actors.

In the future, citizens should become an even stronger partner in designing and testing digital health solutions to ensure their needs are met. Innovators and investors will need to partner up to ensure that long-term impactful and interoperable solutions thrive in the healthcare ecosystem.

About the authors

This is a collaborative publication between the different scaleups from the Digital Health academy and digitalswitzerland’s team.


Romain Boichat, Co-founder and COO, Soignez-moi
Redona Hafizi, Co-founder and Head of Pharma, TOM Medications
Maria Scoz, Healthcare and Life Sciences Business Developer, Decentriq
Phil Norris, Senior Manager Scaleup Enablement, digitalswitzerland
Regula Spuehler, Co-founder and COO, heyPatient
Jade Sternberg, Senior Project Lead Digital Health, digitalswitzerland

Supported by:

Diana Hardie, CEO of Swiss Healthcare Startups
Susanne Gedamke, Managing Director, Swiss Patient Organisation
Milan Vopalka, Head Healthcare, Public Sector Switzerland , Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Theodor Wilhelm, Head of Strategy and Business Development and Member of the Executive Board, Post Sanela Health AG

About the Digital Health Academy:

In collaboration with Swiss Healthcare Startups, digitalswitzerland launched the first edition of the Digital Health Academy, a 6-month cohort based programme for scaleups working to empower the patients to own and understand their health data better. Decentriq, heyPatient, Soignez-moi and TOM Medications were part of the 2023 cohort and, through this academy, were positioned as thought leaders in the digital health space. As part of the programme, they were mentored by experts, benefited from in-depth workshops, a matchmaking bootcamp with corporates and the chance to join ecosystem events such as Digital Health Day (Zurich) and AI for Life (Geneva).

About digitalswitzerland:

digitalswitzerland is a nationwide, cross-sector initiative that aims to transform Switzerland into a leading digital nation. Under the umbrella of digitalswitzerland more than 200 organisations, consisting of association members and politically neutral foundation partners, are working together to achieve this goal. digitalswitzerland is the point of contact for all questions relating to digitalisation and is committed to solving a wide range of challenges. Learn more about digitalswitzerland


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The Swiss healthcare system: entering a new digital era. 

A visualisation of the pioneering solutions that inspire a digital health ecosystem” is published! 

Zurich, 13 December 2023

Although great care has been taken in the preparation of this publication, the author and contributors involved are not responsible for the accuracy of the data, information and advice provided, nor for any printing errors.

All rights reserved, including translation into other languages. No part of this publication may be reproduced, transcribed and/or translated into any computer language, including any information processing language, in any form without the prior written permission of the authors.

The rights to the trademarks mentioned remain with their respective owners.

Coordination of the publication: Melanie Holenweger and Jade Sternberg (digitalswitzerland)

Graphic design: Nina Holenstein (

Study on the cybersecurity of Swiss internet users in 2023

A representative survey of over 1,200 people in Switzerland between August and September provided important insights into attitudes and behaviour towards cyber risks. The study shows that hacking and cyberattacks are becoming increasingly clever and frequent. The average household already has seven devices connected online that are potential targets, and this number is expected to rise. Employers play an important role in raising awareness, but this measure does not reach the most affected age group (65+) sufficiently. This group tends to rely on traditional media and their personal environment. Although 86% of respondents feel safe online and 68% rate their skills as good, 31% use the same password for almost all online services. The most common consequences of cyberattacks are financial losses, data loss and violations of personal rights.

The survey was carried out on behalf of the Swiss Mobiliar Insurance Company Ltd, digitalswitzerland, Allianz Digitale Sicherheit Schweiz, the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland FHNW – Digital Transformation Competence Centre, the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences SATW and Swiss Internet Security Alliance (SISA).

Read the study in German.

Read the press release in German, French and Italian.

Read the press conference presentation in German.

To download the infographics of the study, please navigate to

digitalswitzerland is partnering with the Association Swiss Health Data Space to test the current digital healthcare infrastructure in Switzerland and enable citizens to gain valuable information on their health and thus, take control of it. By participating in this initiative, citizens and healthcare professionals will experience the benefits of the digital side of the healthcare system. They will also identify what is required to improve it through secure and effective use of structured health data with a human-centred focus.

The 21st century expedition to explore health data space

In the 20th century, highly motivated astronauts went through intensive preparatory training to explore space. They showed great willingness to take risks and challenge themselves. What does this have to do with digital health, you might ask? We are looking for pioneers willing to explore the health data space to request and store their own health data. We encourage citizens and healthcare professionals to participate actively by testing and improving the digital healthcare infrastructure themselves – it’s only with the direct involvement of the people that we can ensure that the human is placed at the core of the system.

How can you start testing the digital healthcare infrastructure?

This so-called “expedition into the health data space” is looking for two types of stakeholders for a rapid digital transformation of the healthcare infrastructure:

How will you test existing health data accounts?

Embarking on this expedition as a Salutonaut, you will play an active role and gain much information on your own health.  You will do this by:

The costs to become a Salutonaut are 500 CHF. This includes the medical checkup fee as well as the membership fee for the Swiss Health Data Space association.

You can help democratise the healthcare data economy

By becoming an active member of this expedition, you will experience the different health tools, test the current solutions, identify their advantages and help formulate the important regulatory and technical requirements, which are currently lacking to bring the healthcare infrastructure to the next level: a human-centred digital health data space.

This opportunity offers a unique experience to obtain medical history to access new health services for yourself and share it with your family. You will be able to better understand and take control of your health data and make a difference alongside other pioneers.

digitalswitzerland’s Digital Health team is joining the expedition to lead by example and push the barriers of the healthcare system in Switzerland!

Are you interested to join the initiative?

Find additional information about our various activities on our Digital Health programme page.

About the Swiss Health Data Space association

The Association Swiss Health Data Space creates the legal, technical, economical and organisational conditions necessary for operating a people-centred health data space for the entire of Switzerland and to provide knowledge transfer to promote transparency, acceptance and trust. The association builds on existing solutions and wants to create the right conditions for the future solutions to meet the key technical and functional requirements. The health data spaces which are promoted are compatible with the European Health Data Space. 

In mid-October 2023, digitalswitzerland hosted the second webinar of its Community Talks. This session delved into the crucial topic of data interoperability in healthcare, featuring three panellists representing organisations from digitalswitzerland’s Swiss Patient Journey Ecosystem Map: Oksana Bober, Co-Founder and CEO of iCure, Serge Bignens, President of MIDATA and Head of the Institute for Medical Informatics at the University of Applied Sciences Bern and Gilles Lunzenfichter, Co-Founder and CEO of Medisanté.

digitalswitzerland is committed to digitalising the entire Swiss healthcare system, placing the patient at the centre of the transformation. The Ecosystem Map serves as a guide, illustrating digital solutions in Switzerland dedicated to the patient journey and healthcare system. The map is segmented into five categories and our webinar focused on one of these categories, «data interoperability».

During the discussion, the panellists explored the challenges and potential solutions related to achieving data interoperability in healthcare.

Data should flow like a river between systems

The importance of data interoperability in healthcare cannot be stressed enough. It has the potential to significantly enhance patient care and coordination among healthcare providers. When data becomes interoperable, this supports medical research, ensures regulatory compliance, and reduces costs, all while empowering patients to have greater control over their health information. Data interoperability is a critical element in the modernisation and optimisation of healthcare systems. 

For Gilles Lunzenfichter data interoperability is achieved when «data flows like a river, seamlessly and securely from source to an intended destination». This involves the capacity to reuse data within a single system for various purposes and to transfer it between different platforms. Oksana Bober emphasised that «achieving medical data interoperability is a joint effort that encompasses technology as the foundational layer; regulatory aspects, risk management, and organisational adoption and change management as subsequent layers».

Customisation of standards and lack of incentives complicate progress

The panellists discussed challenges related to standardisation efforts and reimbursement issues. They concurred that while standards exist, many solutions tend to customise these standards, complicating efforts to achieve interoperability. Moreover, the costs of implementing data interoperability often fall on parties that do not directly benefit from it. The primary beneficiaries tend to be downstream entities, leaving little to no incentives for those implementing interoperability. An example might be that the IT department of a hospital needs to invest to streamline its digital infrastructure. In the long run, it is mainly the patients or the doctors who will benefit from this investment, as the data will be better structured.

To give incentives is key to implementing interoperability

To move forward and realise data interoperability, it must be considered as a collaborative effort across the ecosystem. Incentivisation is a key factor for faster adoption and efforts should focus on rewarding pioneers who take initiative. Community-based business models and incentives should be developed and promoted. «It’s essential to transition from isolated pilot projects to broader-scale initiatives», Gilles Lunzenfichter states, drawing inspiration from successful use cases in countries like Belgium, Sweden, Germany, France and the US, where incentivisation techniques have been effective. For instance, in Belgium, doctors who share data from their devices with the national eHealth system receive financial rewards. In general, a collective vision should unite all IT stakeholders, extending beyond data interoperability, recognising it as just one aspect of the whole healthcare experience.

The Swiss healthcare system in 2050

To conclude the discussion, the panellists shared their visions for the Swiss healthcare system in 2050:

In summary, achieving data interoperability in healthcare holds immense potential for improving patient care and the healthcare ecosystem as a whole. To realise this, it’s crucial to address challenges, incentivise stakeholders, and work together to build a healthcare system that is patient-centric and data-driven.

About the panellists:

Switzerland needs new ways to make sustainable use of the promising potential of the platform economy. On the one hand, platform models can make the labour market more flexible; on the other hand, the social security of platform service providers must be guaranteed. With innovative social security models, a new era of “flexicurity” can be ushered in, enabling economic growth with consistent social protection.

This discussion paper and the working group responsible for it were developed between the end of April and the beginning of August 2023 and followed from the definition of thematic priorities in the context of a strategy workshop of digitalswitzerland’s Public Affairs Committee on 12 January 2023.

In partnership with BilanzHandelszeitung and PME, and supported by Innosuisse – the Swiss Innovation Agency, we are delighted to celebrate the 100 Digital Shapers who have made a huge contribution to Switzerland’s digital future. Read detailed interviews with all 100 Digital Shapers in the dedicated Bilanz publication.

We also spoke to a selection of winners to find out more about their fascinating work, what motivates them, their greatest challenges and more.

We extend our congratulations to all Digital Shapers 2023, and thank them for their efforts and continued resilience and visionary thinking.

The categories

This year, the following 10 categories covered:

1. The Spin-off Founders

Entrepreneurs who carve out their idea from a big organisation into a startup

2. The Incubators

People who help digital startups to grow – with money, advice and connections

3. The Internationalisers

Founders and advisors who help their startups to establish a foothold in foreign markets

4. The Nature Techies

People who use digital transformation in order to protect, and preserve nature

5. The Decentralisers

They distribute data around the world leveraging technologies like Web 3.0, distributed ledger, blockchain, cloud & Co.

6. The eMedics

People who use digital transformation to improve various aspects of wellbeing, health and medicine

7. The AI Generators

Masterminds of putting Artificial Intelligence to use

8. The eTeachers

Helping to educate the world using digital tools is their mission

9. The Mobilisers

People who transport mobility into the digital age

10. The Smarties

Experts in the Internet of things that make dumb devices smart

In partnership with BILANZ Wirtschaftsmagazin, HANDELSZEITUNG and PME, and supported by Innosuisse, digitalswitzerland is once again celebrating the 100 people changing the face of the Swiss digital landscape. Read the full interviews with all 100 Digital Shapers in the dedicated Bilanz issue

Shaping the digital landscape in Switzerland

We are pleased to introduce Digital Shapers 2023, a group of dedicated innovators who are committed to shaping a digital future that empowers us all. Their tireless efforts and passion serve as a driving force, inspiring their peers to redefine the limits of what is possible. We are delighted to support this annual campaign. We seized the opportunity to learn what drives these visionaries and are pleased to present some of the deserving winners!

The Nature Techies: People who use digital transformation in order to protect and preserve nature.

Auréline Grange

Auréline and her team at Open Forest Protocol have developed scalable, open and transparent monitoring and financing tools to massively scale the restoration of nature and forests especially. These tools are, for instance, now being used by organisations and landowners in the Global South. Some of these landowners used to have no other choice than to deforest their land to get revenue. With Open Forest Protocol, they now have access to an alternative revenue stream based on reforestation and forest protection. 

Q: What are you most excited about for digital innovation in 2023 and beyond?

A: “I’m genuinely excited about the potential of digital innovations such as remote sensing, AI, and blockchain in addressing climate change. These technologies offer game-changing transparency and can ensure that funds are directed efficiently to essential nature-based climate initiatives. By meticulously tracking progress and validating results, we are able to ensure utmost accountability and effectiveness. As our planet faces critical challenges, it’s really imperative that we leverage these innovations to scale our efforts, steering us towards a much needed, more sustainable and resilient world.”

Q: What will be the biggest change in the world of digital and the way you work in the next 10 years?

A: “I think in the next 10 years, we’ll see a lot of pressure on humans to use digital innovation and tools to always become more efficient. Hopefully, we’ll be able to remember the irreplaceable value of physical interactions between us and how creative and skilled at problem-solving we are when we work together. I truly believe that balancing the efficiency of digital innovations with the nuances of human interaction will be key to creating a holistic, productive, and fulfilling work environment for us all.”

The Spin-off Founders: Entrepreneurs who carve out their idea from a big organisation into a startup.

Péter Fankhauser

Péter completed his PhD in robotics in 2017, alongside co-founding ANYbotics. Through various roles, including now leading at the front as CEO, Peter is driving impact on a global scale at ANYbotics.

Q: Where do you think Switzerland can make the most impact on the digital innovation stage?

A: “Switzerland’s unique strength lies in blending its history of precision engineering with a strong push in software & AI, backed by our leading universities. This combination creates an ideal environment to transform AI into tangible products, like robotics, addressing pressing global challenges such as workforce shortages and sustainable production.”

Q: What will be the biggest change in the world of digital and the way you work in the next 10 years?

A: “In the next 10 years, the most significant change will be how seamlessly we can interact with and use machines, all thanks to AI. It will be a huge shift, similar to the transition from typewriters to computers.”

The Internationalisers: Founders and advisors who help their startups to establish a foothold in foreign markets.

Emilia Pasquier

As the CEO of Swissnex in San Francisco, Emilia Pasquier supports Swiss innovators, startups, artists, and academia in exploring or entering the US market by connecting them to key players in the San Francisco Bay Area. With a team of over ten Swiss and American professionals, her overarching goal is to connect Switzerland and the world in education, research, and innovation. Pasquier’s focus is to strengthen Switzerland’s position as a world-leading hotspot of innovation.

Q: If you could give your 16-year-old self one piece of advice (career or life), what would it be?

A: “If I could advise my 16-year-old self, I’d say: be wild, rebellious, and audacious. Embrace the uncharted paths, and don’t fear failure. The unconventional roads often lead to the most extraordinary destinations. Challenge the norms, strive for innovation, and don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone, as pushing the boundaries very seldom happens from within them. In both life and career, it’s these qualities that inspire change and drive success.”

Q: Where do you think Switzerland can make the most impact on the digital innovation stage?

A: “Switzerland has the potential to make a profound impact on the digital innovation stage, particularly in the area of health, where we have established considerable knowledge through small and big corporates and are amongst the global leaders. Moreover, Switzerland can impact the space by becoming an international platform for crucial discussions around the ethical use of AI. Building upon the legacy of international Geneva, we can lead dialogues that shape responsible AI governance, thereby ensuring that technology evolves in harmony with human values and global standards.”

The Spin-off Founders: Entrepreneurs who carve out their idea from a big organisation into a startup.

Silvio Bonaccio

Silvio Bonaccio is one of Switzerland’s most influential people in generating spin-offs. He has led the ETH technology transfer for nearly two decades – spinning off countless companies and encouraging a generation of entrepreneurs.

Q: Where do you think Switzerland can make the most impact on the digital innovation stage?

A: “In Switzerland in general and at ETH Zurich in particular, one finds world leading centres and institutes in many areas, such as information security and privacy, robotics/autonomous systems, AI, visual computing, quantum computing, etc. to name just a few. We are very well positioned in terms of technology. What we need to provide are efficient platforms and support structures to allow for a fast development and a short time-to-market. Then our country will continue to have an impact on the digital innovation stage in various fields.”

Q: What will be the biggest change in the world of digital and the way you work in the next 10 years?A: “The future of augmented reality (AR) changes the way we interact with the digital world and merges the virtual elements with our physical surroundings. This innovation will permeate all areas of life. Already today, our researchers at ETH Zurich are developing products like context-aware AR support for complex operator tasks, hand action prediction or visualisation strategies.”

The Decentralisers: They distribute data around the world leveraging technologies like Web 3.0, distributed ledger, blockchain, cloud & Co.

Carla Bünger

Pushing technological boundaries is in Carla’s blood. Together with her team at KORE Technologies AG, she operates ISO certified blockchain solutions at scale for large corporates like Richemont Group on a global scale. Her company certainly finds solutions for tough problems. Moreover, Carla is an inspirational speaker and motivates people to move into entrepreneurship and tech.

Q: What are you most excited about for digital innovation in 2023 and beyond?

A: “AI and machine learning will revolutionise industries by automating tasks, uncovering insights from vast data amounts that we can not analyse yet and by enabling personalised experiences. This will accelerate innovation in a massive way. This technology holds immense potential to optimise processes, enhance decision-making, and address complex challenges across various domains, transforming the way we work, live, and interact. It’s not just the next buzzword but a deeply impactful development in humanity.”

Q: If you could give your 16-year old self one piece of advice (career or life), what would it be?

A: “Embrace continuous learning in IT. The digital landscape evolves rapidly; stay curious and adaptable. I’d stress the importance of learning coding and computational thinking as well as cybersecurity basics and data analytics. However, what will be important in addition is everything that technology can’t provide: soft skills. The most important being a critical mind to analyse the validity of sources, the ability to take decisions and focus, creative and networked thinking, the skill to express yourself as well as relate, interact and negotiate with one’s environment.”

The Mobilisers: People who transport mobility into the digital age.

Judith Häberli

Judith is a mobility expert. She sits on the Advisory Board at the Institute for Mobility at the University of St.Gallen and is Co-Founder of Urban Connect. First as CEO and now as COO, she is finding digital solutions for physical problems.

Q: Where do you think Switzerland can make the most impact on the digital innovation stage?

A: “I think an area that is often overlooked is mobility. And I think Switzerland is uniquely qualified to serve as a laboratory to systematically test new mobility concepts by virtue of its small size, diverse landscape, efficient public transport system, its dense network of roads and railways, its advanced level of digitalisation, and its progressive and pragmatic regulatory approach. So, in short, I think concepts can be tested here before being rolled out systemically in bigger countries with a big impact.”

Q: If you could give your 16-year-old self one piece of advice (career or life), what would it be?

A: “I would tell her to stop trying to fit in and instead approach life with a sense of curiosity, wonder and gratitude. I would tell her that failure is part of progress and no one’s opinion about her should ever matter more than her own. I would tell her that the brain works like a muscle and that she should take on challenges, seek out new experiences and hang out with people that talk about ideas and not about people.”

The eMedics: People who use digital transformation to improve various aspects of wellbeing, health and medicine.

Matthias Spühler

Matthias has a long history in healthcare digitalisation, including at KS Winterthur and recently at Inselspital Bern. Today, he is driving patient centric collaboration with heyPatient together with his Co-Founder, Regula Spühler.

Q: What are you most excited about for digital innovation in 2023 and beyond?

A: “We’re excited about elevating quality of life with the help of digitally enhanced healthcare systems, transitioning from a sickcare model to a true healthcare paradigm.”

Q: What will be the biggest change in the world of digital and the way you work in the next 10 years?

A: “Digital augmentation will enable a worldwide enhancement to unfold: We will experience healthier environments, better living, and increased equality. In healthcare, new technologies like the digital twin or AI catalyse transformative progress. We will become much more aware of our own health, what we need for our well-being and have information at hand to take an informed decision when it comes to lifestyle changes or starting a medical treatment.”

The AI Generators: Masterminds of putting Artificial Intelligence to use.

Vanessa Foser

Vanessa Foser is a founder, entrepreneur and board member with a special focus on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data in combination with innovation, impact and leadership. She supports leading Swiss companies, as well as public institutions, to empower their people on how to make practical use of AI in their daily jobs. Vanessa is also engaged in supporting less privileged people in various countries in getting access to first-class AI education for free, with a special focus on inclusion and diversity.

Q: What are you most excited about for digital innovation in 2023 and beyond?

A: “As an AI-enthusiast/ -pioneer, I am most excited that 2023 stands as the pivotal year when AI’s potential is fully harnessed, driving unprecedented digital progress and revolutionising how we work, communicate, and experience the world. (Generative) AI and digital innovation have converged to define a transformative era. Rapid advancements in machine learning, automation, and data analytics are reshaping industries and everyday life. AI-powered solutions enhance efficiency, personalisation, and problem-solving across all sectors and functions.”

Q: What will be the biggest change in the world of digital and the way you work in the next 10 years?

A: “The next decade will witness a paradigm-shift in the digital world and the way we work. Generative AI-technologies will play a pivotal role in automating even creative and sophisticated tasks, freeing professionals for innovation. The real change lies in our evolving relationship with AI, demanding a culture of digital literacy, encouraging individuals to critically assess the outputs of AI-systems and to intervene when necessary. This synergy ensures AI enhances human capacity, leading to a harmonious coexistence where collective progress thrives.”

The eMedics: People who use digital transformation to improve various aspects of wellbeing, health and medicine.

Sven Beichler

Sven is the Co-Founder and CEO of TOM Medications and has managed to build the fastest growing active community of patients with chronic diseases in Europe in a very short time. 

Q: Where do you think Switzerland can make the most impact on the digital innovation stage?

A: “The future of personalised medicine needs data. Switzerland, with its excellence in pharmacy and medical research, is poised to redefine digital innovation in personalised medicine. By integrating data from different health areas and individual health histories, we can gain unparalleled insights. It is critical to disaggregate and share this data, while always respecting regulatory standards, to advance research and care together. This collaborative approach will not only put Switzerland at the forefront of innovation, but also ensure outcomes that benefit individuals.”

The eTeachers: Helping to educate the world using digital tools is their mission.

Öykü Işık

Öykü Işık leads IMD’s Cybersecurity for Managers programme and is an expert on digital resilience and the ways in which disruptive technologies challenge our society and organisations. She helps businesses to tackle cybersecurity, data privacy, and digital ethics challenges, and enables CEOs and other executives to understand these issues, which she believes are too important to be left to technical specialists alone.

Q: Where do you think Switzerland can make the most impact on the digital innovation stage?

A: “I did my PhD in the US because I wanted an international experience, and American universities have that inviting culture that says ‘research’, ‘innovation’ and ‘international collaboration’. But these three years in Switzerland have made me think: ‘why didn’t I come here instead?’ This country is home to a vibrant academic community and, more importantly, a culture of hands-on innovation. It’s clear why it’s a fertile ground for AI and cybersecurity startups.”

Q: What will be the biggest change in the world of digital and the way you work in the next 10 years?

A: I think we’ll have amazing innovations enabled by machine learning and we’re likely to see productivity gains from AI, but I don’t think these necessarily will have a positive impact on our quality of life; I am afraid it won’t make us less overworked. The other aspect is surveillance economy, with social media and data collection: I’m hopeful that the increasing awareness of each new generation, coupled with global regulations, will make the challenge of data privacy better.

The Incubators: People who help digital startups to grow – with money, advice and connections.

Katka Letzing

Katka has been involved in innovation projects connected to acceleration and startup development in the USA, Asia and Europe. She was one member of the founding team of Kickstart and since then has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs to grow and startups to scale up within the Kickstart programmes. 

Q: Where do you think Switzerland can make the most impact on the digital innovation stage?

A: “I believe that the impact will be driven by topics of deep tech and circular economy as well as artificial intelligence, digital personalised health, robotics, advanced manufacturing, and blockchain – all mentioned technologies are coming out in Switzerland and will influence the productivity and competitiveness of the country.”

Q: What will be the biggest change in the world of digital and the way you work in the next 10 years?

A: “I believe that as we see a shift of co-existing in a hybrid environment, we will see even more data-driven and highly personalised digital experiences that enhance the way how we can see things and make decisions about customer journeys for better engagement and lifetime. That said, solutions that will continue to break silos and support collaboration will still make a big impact.”

Find out more about the jury behind selecting our deserving winners here.

With its discussion paper on a “Res Publica Digitalis”, digitalswitzerland’s “eGovernment” working group is making an appeal for increased intercommunal and inter-cantonal cooperation in the area of eGovernment. A people-centred approach, efficient and based on the population and the economy, is the best way to advance the digitalisation of the public sector in our federal system.

This discussion paper and the working group responsible for it were developed between the end of April and the beginning of August 2023 and followed from the definition of thematic priorities in the context of a strategy workshop of the Public Affairs Committee of digitalswitzerland on 12 January 2023.

It has now been more than six months after the launch of ChatGPT. Its widespread accessibility – thanks to so-called generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) such as Bard, Claude, Dall-E, or Midjourney – makes it one of the hottest digital topics of 2023. From geeks, to school teachers, to grandparents – everyone is talking about it. The opportunities AI brings are covered extensively in the press – as are the fears it raises. While AI has long been mastering everyday tasks, making scientific breakthroughs and developing creative solutions to the challenges of our time, its pace of development and its ability to learn autonomously are impressive. What does our (near) future look like with digital intelligence? Will AI one day also be able to think and act ethically? And what consequences would this have for us humans? Should we be optimistic or fearful? These are the questions we asked the attendees of our event “Künstlich und Intelligent?” held in collaboration with SRF in June 2023. 

People’s biggest fears about AI

One thing is clear:  The public’s greatest fear about AI is that it can be misused. In fact, a lot of people realise the massive potential this technology represents, and how it can just as easily be used for the wrong purposes such as in cyberattacks, data manipulation, social media manipulation, hacking of information systems, hospitals or cars – just to name a few. In this sense, many have also raised fears regarding  distortion of reality, misinformation, proliferation of fake news that can all have major implications for our democratic society. The threat of hidden manipulation by AI, lack of transparency over systems and algorithms are all growing concerns that will undoubtedly have to be addressed quickly. In addition, and similarly to other technologies, people have also questioned the responsibility and accountability in the development of AI. 

Therefore, for many, adopting norms and regulations (as it is currently ongoing at the European level), including a framework favourable to the development of these technologies while limiting the risks of abuse was highlighted as approaches to reduce fears in the population. 

06.06.2023,SRF Event, künstlich und intelligent?

The bright side of AI

Most people recognise the positive potential of AI. While they don’t expect to understand the technology in detail, they definitely hope to be able to use it to make their daily lives easier. The hope of increased productivity (i.e., reduce repetitive and less demanding intellectual tasks) was by far the most positive aspect shared by the attendees. Indeed, AI can be an enormous support tool, in particular at work, to simplify complex procedures and can surely increase creativity (i.e. video, image, text). Other people also noted how AI can open up new possibilities, such as further advances in science and research, support for global threats (e.g. sustainable solutions to climate change via intelligent irrigation systems).

06.06.2023,SRF Event, künstlich und intelligent?

How can our fears about AI be overcome ?

Humans have always adapted to new technologies. Nevertheless, the speed of technological change today is unprecedented. Trying to keep up with this pace can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed. It can even lead to fear – fear that technology could escape society’s control – as mentioned several times by the attendees. That is why we asked them what it would take to overcome their fears: 

The most pressing need expressed was the need for transparency: most of the participants explained how transparent information, awareness and communication is essential to create understanding about how AI algorithms and systems are built and work. This is key to building trust. Another important need that was raised several times was education. Educating the population on how to make use of AI through learning, sharing of experiences, exploring, and in particular, promoting critical thinking skills. Others highlighted the need for governance and regulations to ensure responsible design and use of AI through means of international agreements, implementation of ethical filters and rules. Some attendees raised the need for verification mechanisms to prevent the spread of misinformation. This could, for example, be achieved through fact-checkers, or cross-referencing of other reputable sources.

What lies ahead

Overall, as with most new technological breakthroughs, there is always a period of adaptation before society accepts it, integrates it and benefits from its full potential. Many questions will remain open for now and will inevitably be addressed in the near future. From a societal perspective, one of the main challenges will be to ensure everyone has access to these new technologies as well as learning tools. Finally, one of the very specific characteristics of new, AI-driven, digital technologies is the speed of their deployment (ChatGPT has been used by more than a million people in about two months) and their transversality (i.e. the fact that they impact almost all aspects of our private and professional lives). One of the associated big challenges is to find adequate (legal and societal) adoption mechanisms able to efficiently cope with the speed and broadness of the ongoing changes. 

Switzerland needs a vision of how artificial intelligence can be used for Switzerland’s growth and prosperity – wisely regulated and at the centre of public dialogue. digitalswitzerland’s “Artificial Intelligence” working group has addressed this issue and identified five key areas that Switzerland needs to talk about: Technology & Economy, Regulation, Education, the Dialogue with the Public and Leadership.

This discussion paper and the working group responsible for it were developed between the end of April and the beginning of August 2023 and followed on from the definition of thematic priorities at a strategy workshop held by digitalswitzerland’s Public Affairs Committee on 12 January 2023.