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The "Smart Hospital of the Future" - heyPatient on board at the Innosuisse flagship project

The Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) is conducting research with Swiss

universities and industry partners on how hospitals can implement the digital transformation. The Innosuisse flagship project "SHIFT" runs until 2025.

heyPatient is part of it.



A Guide to Digitisation

Hospitals are the central and largest players in the healthcare system in terms of cost

"Accordingly, we have a particularly effective lever here to better tap the potential of digitalisation. Within the framework of SHIFT, we can, in a sense, develop a blueprint for the digital transformation of the entire healthcare system".

explains ZHAW health economist Alfred Angerer, one of the two co-leaders of the research programme.


Digital technologies help hospitals to better cope with challenges such as cost pressure, demographic change or higher quality demands. One example is data-based forecasting models for predicting, planning and optimising staff scheduling. In addition, sensors and apps can help to promote the physical activity of patients after an operation and provide specialists with corresponding data for monitoring treatment goals.


Strengthening Prevention and Early Detection

"The 'Smart Hospital' is thus characterised, among other things, by more proactive care for patients and by the fact that people are even more at the centre of the processes."

says Sven Hirsch, co-leader of SHIFT and head of the ZHAW Digital Health Labs. Digitalisation will generally increase the possibilities of detecting diseases earlier or even preventing them.

"With its help, we can also adapt the treatment even better to the patients. For example, we can discharge some of them earlier from the clinic to their familiar surroundings at home and still continue to treat them," adds Jens Eckstein, internist at the University Hospital Basel and medical director of SHIFT.

The research programme comprises three areas: In the first, research is being conducted into how inpatient treatment in hospital and outpatient follow-up care for patients at home can be seamlessly linked with the help of digital technologies. The second is about developing solutions to further strengthen the ability of staff and patients to act in everyday hospital life. The third area concerns the development of effective and efficient hospital management processes.


Broad Research Network

The Innosuisse-Flagship-Project SHIFT is led by the Winterthur Institut für Gesundheitsökonomie der ZHAW School of Management and Law together with an interdisciplinary ZHAW team from informatics, health, data analysis as well as process design. In addition to the University Hospital Basel, the Universities of Basel and Zurich, the FHNW and the participating hospitals, 24 industrial partners are contributing to the integration of the project into practice. With the flagship initiative, Innosuisse promotes innovations in areas that are relevant to a large part of the economy and society. SHIFT is one of the 15 research projects approved as part of the 2021 Flagship call.



heyPatient is part of it

In the flagship pillar 3, i.e. "Management of Hospital Systems (MHS)", we are developing a method kit for quantifying health interventions together with the ZHAW.


Project Target

The introduction of a new digital health solution can bring about major gains in effectiveness and efficiency internally. These result on the one hand from the digitisation itself (cost savings), and on the other hand from the optimisation of today's often paper-based work processes (consistency, increased efficiency).


From the patient's point of view in particular, digitalisation should have a significant influence on the success of treatment and the quality of service experienced.

This needs to be measured in a new way (e.g. through patient-reported outcome/experience measures (PROMs/PREMs)). But quantifying the benefits is very difficult. However, this is essential, otherwise no prioritisation of projects towards a Digital Hospital can take place.


Planned Goal and Project Contribution

The subproject will develop a methodology kit that will allow HeyPatient to evaluate digital health interventions in the future. The final result will be a methodological toolbox that will show the impact of the health intervention on the different stakeholders (patients, staff, organisation, etc.).


The standardisable and scalable method kit ("Quantificator") shows the value per invested franc that results from a digital health intervention by estimating the benefit in advance. Through a pre/post measurement, the actual benefit can be quantified after the intervention.


Benefits for the Digital Transformation

With this knowledge, the digital transformation of a hospital can be more targeted. With the help of a scalable, customisable digital health method case, Swiss hospitals (and other healthcare organisations) could solve this problem and thus use the scarce resources of digital transformation in an effectiveness-maximising way.



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