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6th Digital Gipfel Schweiz: 100 personalities from business, education and politics discuss artificial intelligence

digitalswitzerland hosted the 6th Digital Gipfel Schweiz on 6 and 7 May 2024. Over 100 high-ranking representatives from education, business and politics came together to discuss the rapid progress of artificial intelligence.

Internationally renowned speakers presented their thoughts on the rapid progress of artificial intelligence: Meredith Whittaker, President of Signal, Zack Kass, long-time top manager of OpenAI, Alex Osterwalder, internationally renowned bestselling author and strategy consultant, Henrik Werdelin, serial entrepreneur and Martin Hoffmann, Co-CEO of On AG. The 6th Digital Gipfel Schweiz, organised by digitalswitzerland, provided a relevant platform for exchanging views on the opportunities and risks of technology.

Read the press release in German or French.

Digitalisation of the healthcare system is an important topic in Switzerland. Many actors have developed new solutions and initiatives to support this ambitious goal. Because of this, it is hard to keep track of all activities and what they focus on.

That’s why we have created an ecosystem map to illustrate the different digital solutions focussing on enhancing the digital patient journey and the digitalisation of the healthcare system in Switzerland.

This map will help you to better understand the complexity of the ecosystem, find synergies between different organisations, enhance collaboration and identify existing gaps.

New edition of the Ecosystem Map | Q1 2024

Open file in new window.

The list is not exhaustive; if a solution or initiative is missing or if you want to give feedback, please email jade@digitalswitzerland.com.

Category Definitions

To better understand the categories of the map and to navigate easily, please see below:

We will update this map every quarter.

Are you interested to read more about digital health topics? Explore findings from our recent study: “The digital healthcare system from the perspective of the population.”

Map Archive

Quarter 4 | 2023

Quarter 3 | 2023

Quarter 2 | 2023

Quarter 1 | 2023

Under the umbrella of digitalswitzerland, MME Legal and Swisscom launched the 4T-DLT initiative in January 2021, with the ambition to combine technical and legal standards to create an open repository, with the ultimate goal of building a secure, interoperable and reliable Swiss Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) infrastructure. 

The initiative quickly gained momentum, which led to SwissCaution and SDX joining the endeavour in March 2021, contributing knowledge and expertise. The four organisations became stakers, who contributed with funds and resources to the development of the initiative’s activities.

Raising awareness within the population with educational videos on the four pillars of trust

In April 2021, five short educational videos were released, outlining the foundation for a trustworthy Swiss infrastructure for digital data. MME and Swisscom gathered industry leaders and experts from academia to help create these blueprints outlining the four central pillars of a secure DLT infrastructure and combining the technical and legal spheres

To learn more about the videos and the contributors, read the article “4T-DLT” – Swiss Initiative Defines Four Pillars of Trustworthy DLT Ecosystem

Navigating Trust: The essential guide to a secure and interoperable digital infrastructure

The 4T-DLT initiative published a white paper in September 2021. Broken down into the 4 Trust pillars, the authors provide fundamental information on the technical and legal framework to establish and operate a secure, interoperable, reliable and trusted digital infrastructure. The white paper is both a navigation guide and a source of knowledge for users, advisors and authorities. 

The set-up of a new comprehensive, interoperable and reliable DLT ecosystem based on Swiss quality standards requires cooperation across companies, organisations and experts as well as interactions with policymakers and regulators. This will help citizens leverage the potential of DLT technology by enabling the independent storage of digital information, values and rights, as well as their straightforward, legally secure and efficient transfer. Ten principles have been defined, which all DLT interfaces should adhere to in order to achieve effective, secure and flawless communication. This is the overall aim of the different activities within the initiative. Find more insights in this interesting article.

Enabling dialogue: Highlights from the CMTA & DLT Event

In March 2022, Capital Market Technology Association and digitalswitzerland’s 4T-DLT initiative joined forces and gathered 80+ experts in Zurich for an insightful event to strengthen collaboration and exchange insights. This gave the DLT community a chance to connect on a deeper level, network and create partnerships.

Read more about the event or check out our gallery.

Empowering the community with the launch of a platform

The 4T-DLT website was created in May 2022. This platform was designed to enable users to find information, share resources and engage with the community. It enabled the community to add their own events and blueprints, exchange with their peers on the forum, as well as define important terms together. Over the months the community grew steadily until reaching over 200 members.

Following this willingness to collaborate and share perspectives, digitalswitzerland organised a meeting; gathering experts in Distributed Ledger Technology and Digital Assets. Capital Market Technology Association, Digital Assets Switzerland, Suisse Blockchain, Swiss Blockchain Federation, VNTR by Postfinance, TBTA and 4T-DLT experts discussed joint synergies to transform Switzerland into a leading DLT hub. As a result, digitalswitzerland created a LinkedIn Group to share events, insights and perspectives on the DLT landscape. 

Enabling organisations to grasp DLT potential and apply it to their business 

In June 2023, digitalswitzerland organised a learning event in Bern, where digitalswitzerland’s members could learn from their peers on topics such as digital assets or tokenisation of company shares. We had the chance to hear from Hochschule Luzern, DFINITY Foundation, daura, SDX, Swiss Post, Magic Tomato and Taurus. 

DLT ecosystem is ready to fly on its own

The power of collaboration, innovation and determination enabled the 4T-DLT initiative to drive positive change. Thus, digitalswitzerland will focus its resources on other topics which still require collaboration and innovation to transform Switzerland as a leading digital nation.

We would like to warmly thank all the experts who contributed to this successful initiative:

Shapers: Dr. Luka Müller-Studer, Harald Baertschi, Sebastian Bürgel, Yannick Hausmann, Dr. Jacques Iffland, Patrick Oltramare, Fedor Poskriakov, Dr. Mattia Rattaggi, Patrick Salm, Adrien Treccani and Gino Wirthensohn

Contributors: Guillaume Gabus, Rolf W. Guenter, Nathan Kaiser, Travin Keith, Aurelia Nick, Bruno Pasquier, Orkan Sahin, Marc Stammbach, Jade Sternberg and Dominic Vincenz

The 4T-DLT website will be live until 13 May 2024.

Women are still significantly underrepresented in tech-related professions. On the occasion of International Women’s Day, McKinsey & Company, the Competence Centre for Diversity & Inclusion at the University of St. Gallen and digitalswitzerland are releasing the white paper “The unseen code: Unlock Switzerland’s female tech potential”. It serves as strategic guidance for the executives, policymakers, and professionals in the technology industry who are navigating the challenges posed by this shortage, with a specific focus on Switzerland.

Featuring expert insights from leaders in the Swiss technology industry, The white paper highlights the need to address the talent shortage and to enhance Switzerland’s competitiveness by empowering female talents to enter or transition to tech professions: Creating a corporate culture that supports women is crucial, as is retaining talent, promoting career changers, and enabling women to enter the industry in the first place. Additionally, it is important to take measures across company boundaries to address structural factors and make the tech industry more attractive to women.

Find the full white paper here.

As we stand at the crossroads of innovation and progress, it becomes increasingly apparent that the interplay between education, a skilled workforce, and diversity will shape the success of businesses in the future. On 16 January, at the digitalswitzerland Village during the World Economic Forum in Davos, we brought together experts from education, business, and politics to explore practical strategies and innovative approaches to unlock the full-potential of our population and to close the tech talent gap in Switzerland.

Breaking Barriers
Close the talent gap: Women in Tech as the best bet to tackle our skills-shortage.

Breaking Barriers is not just a catchphrase; it’s a call to action in the fast-evolving landscape of technology. As we navigate the challenges of the rising skills-shortage in Switzerland’s tech landscape and at the same time only about 1/5 of the tech workforce are women, it becomes clear that we need to act. In a first-of its kind workshop with all the participants, we collaborated with Dr. Ines Hartmann and Nicole Niedermann from the Competence Centre of Diversity & Inclusion at University of St. Gallen as well as Anna Mattsson, President of Advance and Partner at McKinsey & Company to find out how to bridge the female tech talent gap.

Some key measures that were highlighted include:

Shaping Learning
Delve into the future of learning and find out more about the transformative impact of digital innovation in education.

Moving on from more women in tech, we looked at how technology plays an important role in shaping the way we learn and how it opens up new opportunities, for example with a more personalised learning experience for all. In an insightful impulse speech, Jean-Marc Tassetto, strategic advisor EMEA at Go1 and co-founder of coorpacademy, highlighted the importance of creating learning experiences with the end-user in mind. These learning experiences are not optional, by 2027, nearly 100 million jobs may emerge which are more adapted to the division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms.

Anat Bar-Gera, Prof. Dr. Joël Mesot, Jean-Marc Tassetto, Dr. Luciana Vaccaro, Prof. Dr. Misiek Piskorski (from left to right).

In an exciting panel discussion, moderated by Prof. Dr. Misiek Piskorski (Dean IMD Asia and Oceania), and with our experts Anat Bar-Gera (Tech investor and board member), Prof. Dr. Joël Mesot (President ETH Zurich), Dr. Luciana Vaccaro (President swissuniversities and rector HES-SO) and Jean-Marc Tassetto, it has become clear that we face an upskilling emergency with new and softer skills becoming the imperative. Universities and companies alike play a crucial role in enabling people to stay up-to-date with state-of-art, personalised learning experiences leveraging the power of technology and at the same time include the skills that are learned best through personal interaction such as collaboration, initiative, empathy, and more.

Re-Thinking Work
Explore the power of human/tech collaborations with corporate foresight and a human centric approach.

Making sure people are appropriately skilled is paramount to prepare for the future of work. In the era of digital transformation, the nature of work is undergoing unprecedented changes. In an insightful impulse speech, Martin Wezowski, Chief Futurist at SAP, highlighted the case for learning how to “surf” and following one’s personal vision, as we need to with the flow and many jobs that will exist in 2030 have not been invented yet.

Martin Wezowski, Chief Futurist, SAP.

Following the impulse speech, we took a deep-dive in the discussion with our fantastic guests, Jolanda Grob (Chief People Officer, Zurich), Catrin Hinkel (CEO, Microsoft Switzerland), Prof. Dr. Martin Vetterli (President, EPFL), Martin Wezowski and our moderator Prof. Dr. Misiek Piskorski (Dean, IMD Asia and Oceania). It became paramount to prioritise people and lifelong- / or continuous learning as 50% of the employees will need reskilling in the next years. Looking at innovation through creativity, it becomes clear that it happens more and more through human/technological collaboration.

Prof. Dr. Martin Vetterli, Jolanda Grob, Catrin Hinkel, Martin Wezowski, Prof. Dr. Misiek Piskorsk (from left to right).

Inspired to know more and be part of the journey towards mitigating the skills-shortage in tech and ensuring Switzerland is on the right path when it comes to education, skilled workforce and diversity? Let us know your thoughts and find out more about our work here.

In our latest whitepaper, “Charting the Future: Switzerland’s Path to Generative AI Leadership in 2024 and Beyond”, we dissect the transformative impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and generative AI (GenAI) in Switzerland as of 2024. Backed by a survey of 279 Swiss professionals and insights from expert-led Digital Xchange workshops, the findings paint a vivid picture of the GenAI landscape.

The Current Landscape: The survey reveals a robust 62% adoption of AI, with a significant 30.6% implementation across five or more business functions. However, a closer look uncovers a landscape in flux, with 50% of respondents anticipating a major shift in jobs within the next three to five years.

Challenges and Concerns: While enthusiasm for GenAI is palpable, concerns remain. Privacy, data breaches, and over-reliance on technology emerge as key worries. Furthermore, a staggering 52% of organisations lack clear policies on AI in the workplace, indicating a critical need for guidelines.

Urgent Issues: Two pressing issues demand immediate attention. First, the survey signals an outright explosion in demand for skills training as GenAI reshapes the workplace. Second, there is a concerning lack of awareness among Swiss professionals regarding official GenAI policies, with only a third advocating for more government regulation.

Actionable Recommendations: Our whitepaper concludes with strategic recommendations for policymakers, business leaders, and education providers. Urgent actions include the establishment of a robust educational and political framework, investment in transforming continuing education, and a focus on the judicious use of GenAI to maximise opportunities while minimising risks.

Join the Conversation: As Switzerland stands at the crossroads of GenAI innovation, we invite you to study the full whitepaper, to gain a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Read the full report here.

This whitepaper was jointly created and published by digitalswitzerland, IMD and EPFL.

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) (Patientrecord.ch). 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.

Decentriq

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.

Solution
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.

Testimonies

“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

Team
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.

heyPatient

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.

Solution
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.”

Team
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:

Soignez-moi

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). Soignez-moi.ch has a solution to help patients in such situations.

Solution
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 soignez-moi.ch 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!”

Team
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 Soignez-moi.ch 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.

Solution
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.”

Team
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.

Conclusion

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.

Authors:

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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Impressum

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 (www.niniparati.com

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 internet-sicherheit.ch.

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: