Linked health data provide an important basis for taking decisions on the continuing development of the Swiss health system. The intention is to make proposals for merging existing data from the out-patient and in-patient settings and from the insurance sector.
When medical services are used and invoiced, the process generates data that are important for steering the health service. The value of these data, however, is limited: firstly because there are major gaps in the data, especially as regards the out-patient setting; secondly because many data are held in isolation; and thirdly because many of the data are not available for research purposes. This means that there is insufficient data to provide a basis for decisions on developing the health system.
The aim of the study is to create the conditions for improving the data situation in the Swiss health service. Factors that hinder or promote data harmonisation will be identified and policy makers will be made aware of the issue.
A literature analysis and successful national examples will be used to identify the factors that determine the success of data merging, and the requirements that a harmonised database needs to fulfil will be established. In addition, roughly 20 interviews will be conducted with international experts in order to find out how other countries approach data harmonisation. A Delphi survey will also be used to identify the factors that hinder or promote data harmonisation in Switzerland. The results will be summarised and recommendations for Switzerland will be formulated.
The study will help to facilitate the shared use of linked health data. It will also encourage debate about the protection and use of personal health data.