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Building an eHealth framework for Switzerland is confronted to many challenges that are similar to building a eHealth framework for Europe. Many languages, many legal frameworks and political organizations, different cultures and understandings.
Thus, one of the first important action has been to define a Swiss coordination organism, in charge of organizing the process, provide sustainability and coherence. In order to succeed, the eHealth strategy must be nationally planned and coordinated while respecting the needs, requirements and autonomy of each of the 26 cantons. The Confederation and the cantons have therefore concluded a framework agreement and created a coordination body called "eHealth Suisse". The financing is provided by the federal state and the GDK (Swiss Conference of the cantonal Health boards). The coordination organ represents a political governance in the steering committee and has representative of numerous stakeholders, including patients, in the advisory board. It has a project management team which coordinate the work of four working groups devoted to a) standard and architecture; b) pilots and implementation; c) the Swiss patient portal and d) education.
The current Swiss eHealth strategy is based on a revision of the "Strategy for an information society in Switzerland" from 1998. eHealth was addressed in 2006 by the added chapter "Health and health services". This was done after an evaluation by the Centre for Research and Technology Studies in 2002. The strategy includes plans on infrastructural issues and conceptual elements. Another
important document is the "eGovernment Strategy", as here eHealth is seen as one key factor to keep pace with international competition. Adhering to the decentralised political structure of Switzerland, national projects do not originate from the eHealth coordination office, rather the office links and coordinates regional and cantonal approaches.
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