Patients’ involvement

SAMS » Projects » Projects A–Z » Patients’ involvement

Medicine often claims to put «the patient at the centre». Certainly, thanks to empowerment and shared decision-making processes, patients now have more say in their care. However, as regards the way in which medicine is organised or defines its goals and priorities, patients’ voices are scarcely heard. For the SAMS, this is a matter of concern.

The rise of patient associations, which began in the second half of the 20th century, has fundamentally altered the balance of power within the health system. Even so, there is still a long way to go. In 2019, Susanne Hochuli (President of the Swiss Patient Organisation) discussed in an article published in the SAMS Bulletin why patients need to join forces with people in good health so that together they can ensure their voices are heard within the health system, which is entirely funded by health insurance premiums and tax revenues.


Read the article in German or in French


The idea proposed by Susanne Hochuli has been put into effect, with the creation of – an association bringing together representatives of patients and consumers -– in November 2020. The SAMS was closely involved in this process.


More information in German or in French



Conference on «Patients’ power»

The influence exerted by patients within the health system was the subject of a conference organised by the SAMS and the Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences in October 2019. The «Patients’ power» event explored – from a medical humanities perspective – the numerous ambivalences associated with the ongoing changes in the relationship between patients and physicians.


Further information on the «Patients’ power» conference in German and in French



Patient engagement

In 2016, Careum was commissioned by the SAMS to assess the growing importance attached by society to the involvement of patients, relatives, policyholders and citizens in health-related decisions. The report highlights various aspects of patient engagement, including, in particular, choice of service provider, membership of patient associations and user satisfaction surveys. This report led to the inclusion of patients in a number of SAMS working groups.


Download the publication in German



Health literacy

For some years, health literacy has become increasingly important. In Switzerland, as elsewhere, many people have difficulty in finding their way around the health system, understanding their doctor, or recognising their symptoms. This is all the more serious as health is now generally regarded as a central component of life. In 2015, the SAMS published a report designed for the general public, authored by people for whom the topic of health literacy is of central importance. The publication is addressed to everyone who believes that health involves more than combating disease and who is interested in how health is related to social, educational, political and economic factors.


Download the publication in German and French



Patient safety

Patient safety is a vital issue in our increasingly complex health systems. In a report published in 2007, the SAMS first drew attention to the importance of including this topic in under- and postgraduate medical education. Among other things, it recommends training in patient safety for all health professionals, together with a change in error culture. For many years, the SAMS has supported  the Swiss Patient Safety Foundation, of which it is a founding member.


Download the publication in German or in French


More information in German or in French






lic. phil. Valérie Clerc
Secretary General
Tel. +41 31 306 92 71