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A program to promote the digital transformation of the healthcare system

Life sciences

27 November 2023

Scheduled for completion by the end of 2032, the Digisanté program is led by the Federal Office of Public Health (OFSP) and the Federal Statistical Office (OFS). Scheduled for completion by the end of 2032, the Digisanté program is led by the Federal Office of Public Health (OFSP) and the Federal Statistical Office (OFS).

Switzerland is set to modernize its healthcare system through the DigiSanté program, aimed at driving the digital transformation of health services.

Despite having one of the world’s leading healthcare systems, Switzerland faces a significant digital lag in this sector. Issues like repetitive data entry and limited data utility for varying purposes highlight the need for a unified, widely-supported digital strategy in healthcare. Recognizing these shortcomings, the Swiss Federal Council and Parliament have taken decisive steps. The Federal Council tasked the Federal Department of Home Affairs (DFI) in May 2022 with creating a program to promote digital transformation in healthcare.

The DigiSanté program aims to address Switzerland’s healthcare digitization gap by 2032, aligning with the Health2030 strategy. The program focuses on enhancing healthcare quality, particularly for patients, and aims to boost efficiency across the board. Key aspects include continuous data exchange in treatment, billing, research, and administration, demanding better data standardization. Concurrently, ensuring data protection, informational self-determination, and cybersecurity is paramount, alongside establishing clear legal access to health data. Furthermore, legal provisions are being adapted to facilitate secondary health data usage for planning, management, and research.

Data lies at the heart of this digital transformation. Standardized data structures and contents are essential for seamless system interoperability and adherence to the principle of single data entry. DigiSanté will enforce clear rules on data access and its multifaceted usage by different stakeholders. The program also involves digitizing and harmonizing government services while providing essential centralized services like registries, interfaces, and identifiers.

The program encompasses numerous projects, supported and coordinated by the Confederation, creating a secure environment for planning and investment based on legal foundations. The Confederation’s focus is on areas lacking a market presence and crucial for the digital transformation of healthcare, which private providers cannot establish. This foundation will enable various health sector actors to efficiently develop and operate their services.

Strategic objectives, projects and their implementation

The program’s strategic objectives consider the unique context of the Swiss healthcare system and aim to synergize with existing projects like the electronic patient dossier (EPD). International trends will also be evaluated and integrated as necessary. Key strategic objectives include digitizing essential foundations for successful healthcare digital transformation, orchestrating activities for digital transformation, standardizing secure and continuous data exchange, and anchoring necessary legal changes at the cantonal or federal levels.

DigiSanté’s implementation involves multiple phases, initially establishing a clear legal, organizational, and technical framework for continuous information exchange. Subsequently, a national infrastructure will be developed for rapidly deploying new digital health services. Healthcare digital transformation in Switzerland involves diverse actors sharing tasks and competencies. Cantonal authorities and private sector stakeholders are integral to DigiSanté’s development from the outset. The program aligns with the Digital Switzerland Strategy, focusing on data usage and exploitation projects led by the Federal Statistical Office (OFS).

One notable project under DigiSanté is the specialized group for Data Management in the Healthcare System, initiated by the DFI and comprising representatives from various health sector stakeholders. Another project aims to facilitate researchers’ access to public health data, contributing to healthcare system optimization and innovation.

In summary, DigiSanté represents a comprehensive approach to modernizing Switzerland’s healthcare system, ensuring it stays at the forefront of digital innovation while enhancing care quality and efficiency.