Our problem with the FOPH

When I first read Health2030 – the Federal Council’s health policy strategy for the period 2020–2030, I was excited at the prospect of a government agency that understood the challenges it was facing, and had a clear plan of how to address them[1]The Federal Council’s health policy strategy 2020–2030. It seemed to have objectives for many of the problems set out in the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies’s report[2]Switzerland Health system review outlining the challenges with Switzerland’s healthcare system.

Here are some of the quotes taken from the Health2030:

If people not only adopt healthy behaviours at a young age but also take appropriate measures as they get older, diseases in old age can be prevented.

Higher health insurance premiums due to steadily rising costs are placing an unsustainable burden on more and more people.

In order to control costs, adjustments need to be made to the health insurance system needs so that cost development remains at an accept- able level.

A mechanism needs to be found to counteract this trend so that individual premium reduc- tions again have the desired effect.

Many factors help determine a person’s health: genetic predispositions, behaviour and lifestyle, environmental influence as well as socio-economic and cultural living condi- tions. Various studies show that these factors account for between 60% and 80% of a person’s state of health. The health system is responsible for the rest. In the interests of a comprehensive health policy and to ensure a healthy life for the Swiss population, there needs to be greater focus on the factors beyond the health system.

The Heath2030 plan sets out sixteen lines of action[3]Vision, challenges, objectives and lines of action. I wrote the the Director of the FOPH, Ms Anne Lévy asking for the detail. 

I received a very courteous response, saying that the the FOPH were preoccupied with the Covid Pandemic and that they would be analysing the focus very closely after the crises had subsided. I found that response a little strange. When you are already into the period of a plan, you should have that kind of detail covered. But they did not. 

HRV Health’s objectives are very closely aligned with those of the FOPH, and we are implementing many of the action lines which the FOPH have not yet formulated. You would think that they would have a keen interest in finding out what HRV Health has accomplished and whether it works.

We have made an offer to them a few times to provide a demonstration of the technology. We are still waiting for a response.

During the Covid pandemic the HRV Health system was able to detect illness before any other symptoms became evident, and also when our users had recovered, often long before the normal medical tests provided the all clear. Our system is able to determine who are the most vulnerable, far more efficiently that just using age as a criterion. Our offer to assist was passed on the the group handling the Covid crises, and they just ignored it. 

When you offer something to people for free, that’s what they think it’s worth.

The Health2030 frequently mentions the unsustainable rise in healthcare expenditure, and also makes the point that people are responsible for their own health. 

That is exactly how HRV Health addresses the problem, and you would think they would be banging down the door to find out how it works. Instead, we have been forced into nagging them.

HRV Health now has active users in 48 countries. We’ll focus on those, and observe and pass comment on the FOPH’s progress at fixing the problems that are so clearly set out in the Health 2030 plan.