Thanks to advances in the life sciences and information technology (IT), there is an enormous and rapidly growing amount of health-related data available today: clinical data, genomics and other omics data, data from biobanks and health data collected by individuals themselves.
Personalised medicine aims to use these data for the optimal medical care of each individual. The concept of personalised health goes beyond this: the findings from these data will not only benefit individual patients but also the population at large, as they will make it possible to recognise health risks at an early stage and develop appropriate health strategies. The Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (SAMS) and the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences have been addressing this topic for several years, holding conferences and publishing recommendations.
National research initiative
To make use of the potential in the great amount of health-care data for research and innovation, researchers at the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETHs), universities and university hospitals proposed a research initiative in the area of personalised health: the Swiss Personalized Health Network (SPHN). This network should guarantee harmonisation of the different types of data and information systems and allow the exchanges of data required for research.
The State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) has taken up the initiative and commissioned the SAMS to create a concept for its development, structure and implementation. The result is the implementation report from November 2015. Implementation of the SPHN initiative based on this report has started in 2016.
Information letter from the SERI and Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) dated April 2016 (in German)
SAMS bulletin 1/2016 focusing on the Swiss Personalized Health Network (in German)
Implementation report «Implementation of the Swiss Personalized Health Network (SPHN) initiative» dated November 2015
SAMS position paper «Potential and limits of individualised medicine» (2012)
The SAMS has previously organised various events on the topic of personalised health. The programme and presentations for each conference can be found below.