07.05.2019 At first Hand

Bringing health-care into line with the needs of the elderly. Most elderly people’s health is impaired in some way. The important thing is to maintain these people’s quality of life for as long as possible despite their illness and to identify and strengthen their resources. This is the basis of the “healthy ageing” approach.

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Stefan Spycher, Vice Director and Head of Health Policy Directorate

At the moment the Swiss health system is still focused too heavily on treating acute disorders, on a curative approach. The FOPH, on the other hand, is pursuing the goal of achieving a more patient-oriented approach. Patients’ needs increasingly have to be the centre of attention. This can mean, for example, that doctor and patient set the treatment objective together and take a proactive approach to planning therapy, that the patient, their family and specialists take decisions jointly, or that the patient’s self-management plays a greater role.

Framework conditions that support this approach are needed if this goal is to be achieved. There is a need for care structures that facilitate cooperation between the different healthcare professions. Within a coordinated care network, every patient has a personal contact (usually a doctor) who ensures continuous advice and coordinates treatments with the different healthcare professionals. Studies show that patients cared for within structures of this kind are more satisfied and that the quality of care is higher.

E-health solutions are also required to simplify cooperation between the various healthcare professionals, enabling everyone involved to access patients’ current health data. Electronic data exchange is a fundamental requirement if coordinated care models are to work.

These are just some of the steps that will be necessary in future. In the past few years Switzerland has already taken several steps in the right direction, but a great deal of commitment is still required to align healthcare more effectively with the needs of an ageing society.


Stefan Spycher
Vice Director and Head of Health Policy Directorate

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