Obsan was initiated as part of the “National Health Policy” dialogue. The dialogue project was created in 1998 by the Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA) and the Conference of Cantonal Health Directors (GDK). The objective of the project is to better coordinate the federal and cantonal policies on health.
Obsan began its activities in 2001. As part of the agreement on the "National Health Policy", the GDK and the Confederation renewed the mandate to Obsan in December 2003.
Three institutional relationships are particularly important for Obsan:
- The Confederation and the cantons define the mission of Obsan, by means of the “National Health Policy” dialogue.
- The steering committee is the direct strategic management body of Obsan. It is composed of one member each from the Swiss Conference of the Cantonal Ministers of Public Health (GDK), the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).
- The accompanying group provides technical support and advice to Obsan.
- Organisationally, Obsan is incorporated in the Swiss Federal Statistical Office (FSO).