14 December 2023
The SPHN International Advisory Board (IAB) has been involved in the evolution of the initiative since the very beginning. With the exception of the time during the Covid pandemic, the IAB has reviewed the progress of the activities of SPHN on an annual basis, providing valuable input and recommendations.
The 2023 IAB report highlights the significant progress since the last IAB meeting in May 2022. Legal and governance aspects related to data flow in the National Data Stream (NDS) projects have been largely resolved, enabling the transfer of data from participating hospitals and the initiation of data analysis.
The upcoming months will be crucial for testing the infrastructure to ensure smooth data flow and to start analyzing the data. In addition to the NDS, good progress has been made in preparing for genomics, federated learning, and interactions with other data sources (e.g., from the Federal Statistics Office and the Federal Office of Public Health).
The primary planning challenge now lies in ensuring sustainability of the developed infrastructures. There is a recognized need for a national office to coordinate data collection, governance, and utilization, with SPHN having laid the foundation for such a function. It is emphasized though that SPHN represents an academic effort, and should maintain its flexibility and independence to continue driving innovation and setting directions. Nevertheless coordination with a potential national health office, which may face constraints in governance, economics, politics, and scale, is essential and should be carefully orchestrated.