Takeaways from the discussion around the future of healthcare

Different points of view are crucial if the Swiss health system is to be transformed successfully. Here are five of them.

Peter Mittemeyer

25. May 2023

At the future health debate 2023
Full house at the future debate Health 2023 at the Hotel Widder in Zurich. (Image: Compassana)

Yesterday I was a guest at the discussion on the future held at Hotel Widder in Zurich. At the invitation of our shareholder Helsana, we discussed the following issues, among others: Where are the greatest deficiencies in the health system that we need to work on? Why do health care bottlenecks occur? And how can digitisation ease the burden on day-to-day life in hospitals and clinics? 

With me on stage were: Sandra Schwendener, Head of Occupational Health Management, Helsana; Patricia Blank, Policy Lead, Roche Diagnostics Schweiz; Angelo Barile, GP and National Councillor, President of vsao; Sven Hirsch, Professor, Head of Center for Computational Health, ZHAW; and Jacqueline Martin, CEO, Careum Hochschule Gesundheit. The discussion was moderated by: Professor Thomas D. Szucs, MPH, Director ECPM/Basel University. Many thanks to everyone for an interesting discussion. 

What I came away with:

-    At this discussion, too, I had the opportunity to explain the difference between the ecosystem and platform – and what that means for Compassana. The Swiss healthcare system is an ecosystem. Its stakeholders have been working together for a long time. We want to link the stakeholders on our platform. This is because data is available when decisions are being made. Ours is a hybrid of collaboration and data platform. It is important that: We place emphasis on consent, i.e. opt-in: Patients decide with whom they share data. 

-    I am often asked if Compassana is a competitor to the electronic patient record (EPR). I would prefer if the EPR already existed. This is because we would like to place a focus on data collection: What is required to ensure the best possible patient care? It is often much less than what is available technologically. This means that we do not necessarily collect new data, but improve how we grade existing data. 

-    Angelo Barile vividly described a case from the accident and emergency ward when precious time for treatment was lost because a doctor had to transfer data from a document into the hospital's information system. Her workaround: she snapped a photo on her mobile phone and then typed everything in, one after the other. At Compassana, we are working to ensure that this no longer occurs: With just a few clicks, medical professionals have all the data to hand in a clearly structured format. Thomas Szucs’ quote is fitting in this case: “Digitisation speeds up decision-making.” 

-    Jacqueline Martin rightly pointed out that digitisation merely reflects mirrors what is desired by society. “So, if we want to have equitable access to care, the general conditions have to be right,” Sandra Schwendener added.

-    Sven Hirsch, who is responsible for digitisation per his job title, said the alignment of medical practice information systems was essential. At Compassana, we are also working on this. Our conviction is that it requires just a few standardised interfaces via which data can be exchanged on the platform. The 50 or so different practice information systems that exist currently in Switzerland will then no longer be a problem. Or to put it like two of my fellow panellists: Angelo Barile: “For the benefit of the patients, I have to work in an interdisciplinary way.” Patricia Blank: “Combine existing systems with simple digital solutions.”