Analyses for the health system of both today and tomorrow
The Swiss Health Observatory (Obsan) is a competence, service and information centre supported by the Confederation and the cantons for scientific analyses and information on the health of the population, health care system and health policy. The Obsan makes its findings available to the Confederation, the cantons and health care institutions. It also provides customised analyses and consulting services to these partners.
Obsan was initiated as part of the national health policy dialogue. The dialogue project was developed in 1998 at the suggestion of the Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA) and the Swiss Conference of the Cantonal Ministers of Public Health (CMPH). The aim of the dialogue is to better coordinate the health policies of the Confederation and the cantons.
Obsan began its work in 2001. In 2013, the CMPH and the Confederation renewed the basic mandate for Obsan in an agreement on the national health policy.
National Health Policy Dialogue (in german, french and italian)
Confederation and cantons define the mandate
The strategic committee of the national health policy dialogue awards a mandate to the Swiss Health Observatory (Obsan) every five years. According to the mandate for 2021-2025, Obsan carries out the following activities in particular, with the involvement of partners at federal and cantonal level:
- Existing data and information on the health of the population and on the health care system are processed, analysed and interpreted.
- Health data are linked with the goal of overarching analyses.
- Scientifically reliable and relevant healthcare information and analysis results are edited and published in a user-friendly way.
- The results are made available in various forms so that health policy planning and decisions can be supported, measures, health services and care structures evaluated, problems in the system identified and the population’s health problems highlighted.
- Where there are gaps and deficiencies in existing health data, improvements and innovations in data collection and registers are proposed.
Obsan does not itself conduct statistical surveys with the primary purpose of producing and diffusing public statistics; however, data collection in the sense of one-off surveys is possible. Obsan focuses on the use of existing data and provides support in improving the data basis.
- Health reporting
- Indicator monitoring
- Health system
- Mental health
- Age and long-term care
- Health professionals
- Costs and financing
A wide range
The Swiss Health Observatory (Obsan) provides a wide range of services. Obsan's staff provide advice to clients. They assist in interpreting the monitoring findings of data analyses and other results from Obsan projects.
Current and comprehensive publications and indicators
Obsan publishes its analyses in the form of reports, bulletins and as indicator monitoring documents. All publications can be consulted on Obsan's website free of charge. A newsmail and press releases provide information about new publications.
Scientifically competent analyses
Obsan compiles analyses on specific issues. These may be national, cantonal, regional or population-related. The analyses provide the basis for evaluations, planning and decisions made by policy makers in the health sector.
Obsan has access to the most important Swiss databases in the areas of the health of the population and health care. At the request of its clients, Obsan offers individual evaluations of these databases.
Statistical support in planning
In cooperation with the cantons, Obsan develops the statistical bases for health care sector planning. In this way, it supports its clients in providing health care to the population.
Clients / partnerships
Focus on the Confederation and cantons
The Swiss Health Observatory (Obsan) offers its services to the public sector and politically neutral institutions.
Standard Obsan products such as planning instruments in the area of hospital care, long-term care and in the area of health professionals are primarily intended for the cantons. Alongside the Federal Statistical Office, the Federal Office of Public Health is one of Obsan's partners within the Federal Administration.
Obsan also provides services for politically neutral institutions. As a rule, Obsan does not offer services to political parties, interest groups and private enterprises.
Some cantons conclude a standard contract with Obsan. These multi-year contracts offer the advantage that cooperation with the cantons can be intensified and planned over a longer period. Obsan’s services can be obtained at preferential conditions. Obsan has concluded a standard contract with 19 cantons for the contractual period 2021− 2025.
In addition to these standard contracts, partners can also conclude service agreements with Obsan. These define Obsan services within the framework of specific projects and analyses.
Strategic embedding by means of a steering committee
The strategic steering of the Swiss Health Observatory (Obsan) is carried out by a steering committee. It consists of one member of management from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) and the Swiss Conference of Ministers of Public Health (CMPH) and the head of Obsan and its deputies.
In organisational terms, Obsan is attached to the FSO.
The Obsan team is interdisciplinary and the fields of economics, medicine, sociology, psychology and natural sciences are represented in it.
The Obsan team forms a pool of project leaders and collaborators, who are appointed according to the project. In this way, to each project the most appropriate Obsan specialists are attributed.