All spectra article in the last 12 years in chronological order


mHealth – what opportunities are there for mobile apps in the healthcare system?

Digital change is having a profound impact on our everyday life. The smartphone is further accelerating this process. It is a constant and ubiquitous presence, and is being increasingly used in prevention and health promotion (to measure fitness and health data) as well as in everyday medical practice (measurement of vital data, coordination and disease management). Compared with other economic sectors, however, the use of apps in the medical field has some catching up to do, not least because of the more stringent requirements regarding security and protection of health-specific data. We have sought to provide you below with an insight into the possible uses of mobile health and the challenges it faces. more


Editorial – Roy Salveter.

At first hand. Who of us has never used the pedometer function on our smartphone? This function and all the other health and fitness apps that can be found on the ever-present smartphone would not have been possible without the megatrend of digitalisation. These apps can measure data from our body with utmost accuracy, whether forthe purpose of tracking our physical activity, improving our athletic performance and efficiency, recording our sleep phases or giving us nutritional recommendations. more


"The people affected are too little aware of current data protection rules»

Interview with Barbara Widmer. Our health data are particularly sensitive, yet today everyone and everything is tracked. Can we still protect the data that mHealth apps acquire from us and store? In our discussion, the lawyer and expert on data protection issues tells us where the greatest data protection risks lie with mHealth apps and what we can still do to make our data more secure. more


Can mHealth deliver greater health equity?

Digital disadvantage. The widespread adoption of smartphones in all sectors of the population gives some idea of the potential that could be harnessed for health promotion and prevention purposes. However, owning a smartphone does not always equate with being able to make adequate use of mHealth apps. more


Federal government commitment to people with rare diseases

Rare diseases. In Switzerland some 500 000 people suffer from a rare disease. Between 7 000 and 8 000 such diseases exist. There are so many of them that they account for a quarter of illnesses worldwide and are thus as frequent as one of the most widespread diseases. How- ever, the lower the number of people suffering from a particular disease, the less we know about its causes, symptoms and treatment options. more


At first hand

When the talk is of "rare diseases", we do not usually feel directly addressed: anything "rare" just affects others. But it is only the individual diseases that are rare. As a group, they are as common as diabetes. I too realised this only when we began drafting the National Rare Disease Policy. more


When does the statutory health insurance (SHI) cover the costs, when does it not?

Genetic testing. Many rare diseases are of genetic origin, i.e. they can be inherited. Changes in an individual’s genetic make-up can now be demonstrated in the blood. Genetic analyses have to be accompanied by genetic counselling. However, the statutory health insurance (SHI) does not cover the often considerable cost of genetic testing in all cases. more


National policy – participation in international networks

International. In order to remain involved internationally in research, diagnosis, treatment and management of rare diseases, Swiss centres of excellence rely on international partnerships. A new "International Networking" subproject in the context of the National Rare Disease Policy has been developed to help provide Swiss centres an anchor for their international integration. more


Improving awareness of rare diseases

Rare diseases. The subject of the 8th international Rare Disease Day in Switzerland this year is "I have a diagnosis. What happens now?" Jean-Marc Nuoffer, Chief Physician in Metabolic Analytics and head of the Interdisciplinary Metabolism Team at the Inselspital in Bern, tells us what it means to go for a long time with no diagnosis and what is urgently needed to improve matters. more


Social disadvantage leads to unequal health opportunities

Health equity. Our health system is based on the fundamental principle of openness and solidarity: it must do justice to the needs of all groups in the population, irrespective of their language, origin, social status and level of education. This means that often a special effort must be made to ensure that the disadvantaged are also provided with basic health-care as well as health promotion and prevention resources. more