"Health markets are becoming the drivers of a new economic era."
Updated: Jul 6
In our Swizzard Champions series, Michael Zürcher, CEO of Swizzard Pharma AG, interviews experienced thought leaders from the world of pharma, biotech and healthcare and shares valuable industry insights. Today’s guest is Daniel Heller, Partner and Vice President of the Board of Farner Consulting AG – Switzerland’s leading consulting firm in public relations and communication; Chairman of the Board of Directors of Kantonsspital Baden AG – one of two central hospitals in the canton Aargau; and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Klinik Barmelweid AG – a leading specialist clinic for pulmonary and cardiac rehabilitation, psychosomatics and sleep medicine.
Download our two-pager with a summary of Daniel’s key takeaways:
What key factors make the Swiss healthcare system so successful compared to the EU?
With solid financing, a healthy mix of private initiative and state involvement as well as universal accessibility and rapid availability for all, Swiss healthcare scores very well in international comparisons. OECD indicators rank Switzerland as one of the top performers among member states. Access to healthcare is ensured for the entire population with very extensive choices and there are practically no waiting times. Therefore, people in Switzerland enjoy a high degree of satisfaction with the healthcare system.
In the provision of medical staff and hospital beds, Switzerland is clearly above the OECD average, and is even the lone front runner in the employment of nursing staff. Another indicator of the efficiency of a healthcare system is the number of deaths that can be avoided through timely and effective medical intervention. Here, too, Switzerland performs best out of all OECD countries. The reason for this success story is the mix of private and public service providers, all delivering services competitively and, accordingly, efficiently. Even the insurance system is organized competitively. Private households contributed a share of 25% to the financing of the health system in 2019. The weak points – as everywhere – are the inefficient health bureaucracies and political attempts to plan the health system even more comprehensively.
Which (mega) trends is the healthcare system subject to and how do you see the future of the healthcare market?
Our healthcare system is subject to three main trends: the rapidly ageing society, fast change due to the enormous increase in knowledge and technological innovations, and the growing burden on premiums and tax payers. All this poses great challenges for hospitals and other service providers. All in all, we are also facing the age of health in Switzerland, i.e., health markets are becoming the drivers of a new economic era in which our healthcare system will change from sick care to real healthcare. Accordingly, the expectation that health markets will continue to boom is unbroken.
What would be your three wishes for the sustainable development of our healthcare system?
My three wishes would be:
1. Less state intervention, restrictions and regulations
2. More innovation at all levels, especially through the consistent use of digitalization and
3. More discussions about the benefits of our healthcare system, for example about more resilience and staying power in view of new health crises.
It would also be desirable to facilitate the approval of medicines and medical products. First of all, technical simplifications by the regulatory authority Swissmedic are needed for products already approved in countries with comparable approval systems like the EU and USA. Furthermore, digitalization must be used consistently to remove hurdles in the area of packaging and indications.
Are there any other current, explosive topics that we need to talk about?
What we urgently need is real digitalization in healthcare – the kind that ensures that existing data can be quickly analyzed, shared and used. Administrative efforts would be simplified, which would increase transparency and efficiency in the system as well as enable comparability among service providers, increasing freedom of choice for patients. Only in this way can integrated care be realized at scale and an ecosystem of data created that drives research and innovation.
About Farner Consulting AG
Farner is the largest communications agency in Switzerland with offices in Zurich, Bern, St. Gallen, Lausanne, Basel and Tessin. Farner is active in all areas of communication such as Digital Marketing, Issue Management, Content Marketing and Public Affairs.
About Kantonsspital Baden AG
The Kantonsspital Baden (KSB) is a leading Swiss central hospital. It provides health services for over 350,000 people in the canton of Aargau. KSB is host of the Health Innovation Hub, a platform enabling collaboration with startups and institutions like ETH, PSI and FHNW in the field of new solutions in diagnosis, therapies and supporting processes.
About Klinik Barmelweid AG
The Klinik Barmelweid is a leading specialist clinic for pulmonary and cardiac rehabilitation, psychosomatics and sleep medicine. It is located 600 metres above sea level and – with 280 beds – supplements basic medical care in the canton of Aargau.
About Swizzard Pharma AG
Swizzard Pharma is a provider of support services for biotech and pharma companies in Switzerland. As part of the company’s mission to enable healthy lives in Switzerland, Swizzard helps clients maximize the value of their breakthroughs in the Swiss market. Swizzard offers a range of services, drawing on vast experience and exceptional connections to deliver fast and lean settle-in, market preparation and commercialization solutions. CEO of Swizzard is Michael Zürcher, an experienced general manager in the life sciences industry.