International Digital Health

Health Data Governance: What’s in it for Switzerland?


How can we ensure that the potential of new digital health technologies is fully exploited to benefit society, and the younger generations in particular? What are the opportunities, challenges and needs that the digital transformation creates within Switzerland, for global healthcare systems and Geneva as the world’s global health capital? The project «Health Data Governance: What’s in it for Switzerland?» addresses these exact questions around health data governance by engaging youth and relevant actors in Switzerland through innovative formats of stakeholder dialogues.

New digital technologies and AI are on the verge of revolutionizing healthcare nationally and globally. New approaches and tools based on processed health data are changing the way patients are treated and how they interact with healthcare professionals and institutions. Medical and pharmaceutical research and manufacturing is equally heavily impacted. While there is a huge potential, these new technologies also raise legitimate concerns with regards to health data privacy and security.

Technological change has accelerated, but mechanisms for global health data governance have failed to keep pace. The uneven spread of digital and AI capacities across countries and sectors and the fragmentation of data and governance approaches bear the risk to exacerbate existing divides. This governance gap therefore needs to be filled, taking into account the needs of multiple stakeholders within the healthcare systems and society as a whole. 

With the adoption of the Swiss Health Foreign Policy 2019-2024 (Gesundheitsaussenpolitik GAP) in May 2019, the Federal Council recognized the potential of digitization and AI for health. The GAP notably highlights the importance of Geneva as the capital of multilateral cooperation in public health and the need for a global health data governance framework to ensure that digital health technologies help progress towards the goal of equitable access to healthcare for all. The GAP also acknowledges the leading role of Switzerland in medical and pharmaceutical innovation.

Using its unique position as the grassroots platform for foreign policy dialogue in Switzerland, and integrating the Swiss youth into the debate, foraus seeks to bring all relevant stakeholders around the table, leveraging the innovative formats poliTisch and Policy Kitchen.

In the last week of August, we invite interested citizens and experts to our series of physical and virtual Policy Kitchen workshops on «My Data – My Health: Visions for the Use and Exchange of Personal Health Data in 2030». Together we develop visions on the future use of health data in areas such as public health policy and research. Please find further information here.

This project has been funded by Fondation Botnar.

This project is implemented by foraus in partnership with Sensor Advice.