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Switzerland’s digital first

Switzerland is already one of the most digitally advanced countries in the world. In the 2022 IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking, the country placed fifth among 63 global economies.

The country’s aim is not only to be among the best, but to be a leading digital nation.

Under the Digital Switzerland Strategy, which sets the guidelines for the nation’s digital transformation, the three focus themes for 2023 are digitalization in the healthcare sector, digitalization-friendly legislation, and digital sovereignty.

Digital health is a priority as this has been considered an urgent concern. Switzerland’s digitalized health system, particularly its electronic patient file, is considered as among the best examples. Having an online health record allows better access to health documents, such as prescriptions, hospital discharge report, vaccination record, laboratory results, among others. Patients also have control over their data since they can decide which health professionals can access their electronic patient file.

Furthermore, they aim to establish a responsible, secure and sustainable exchange of health data between Swiss hospitals and Swiss research institutions to support biomedical research and allow the population to benefit from the expected medical innovation and quality of healthcare through data-driven and clinical studies.

The Swiss government’s goal is to have not only an efficient and cost-effective healthcare system, but also one that is patient-centric as it believes that when citizens are informed about their health, they can be more engaged with preventive measures.

Education and diversity is also an important strategy. According to Stefan Metzger, CEO of digitalswitzerland, an association which aims to make Switzerland a world leader in digital innovation, one of the focus areas is the youth, to create a passion for technology at a young age. Another is to ensure that the older generation have up-to-date digital skills. Finally, they aim to address the lack of female professionals in the technology industry. Meanwhile, in the area of digital-friendly legislation, the goal is to design laws in such a way that they encourage digitalization. One of their projects is Justitia 4.0, which aims to turn current paper files into electronic files so that these are available at any time. This eliminates the need to search through voluminous paper files as well as the delays due to postal exchange, thus, making the system more efficient as the judiciary can better focus on substantive issues.

In terms of digital sovereignty, the Swiss Government is looking at which political, legal, economic and individual dependencies can be reduced in the digital world.

Switzerland’s “Digital First” thrust means prioritizing digital solutions whenever possible and wherever practical for the benefit of its people. The idea is to harness the opportunities in digital transformation and ensure that the population benefits from it in a sustainable and responsible manner.

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