September 25, 2018
What usually comes to mind when you hear “worldwide medical technology leader”? The US, the UK, maybe Germany? Surprisingly, the position is occupied by neither of those—it’s Switzerland that’s currently the undisputed leader of the life sciences industry, a feat which has earned Switzerland the moniker of “Health Valley”, particularly popular in the French-speaking parts of the country.
What drove Switzerland’s worldwide success? Below, I’ll be outlining some of the reasons behind its spectacular accomplishments, explaining why both the place and the industry are particularly worthy of your attention, and sharing some of the more impressive outcomes of the sector’s activity.
Switzerland outstrips both Germany and the UK in the number of people employed in the medical technology sector, which in Switzerland accounts for 2.8% of the total workforce. Companies located in the most important medtech clusters in Basel, the Lake Geneva region, the St. Gallen–Lake Constance area, and around Bern, are issued around 1,200 patents every year. On average, these firms invest 13% of their turnover in R&D and sell 90% of their products abroad, accounting for more than 5% of Swiss exports.
Let’s look at some figures:
Let’s stop for a moment to dive a little deeper into what drove these really impressive numbers. And there’s no better way than asking at the source. Patrick Dummler, the managing director for Medtech Switzerland, reveals how the country became a medical technology pioneer:
“It wasn’t a conscious shift. It just sort of happened, Our machining and mechanical engineering skills are driven by innovation, and this has laid the foundation for our reputation for quality highly engineered technologies.”
For such an unplanned move, it turned out surprisingly well. But I also managed to identify a couple of solid arguments that would explain the Swiss medtech boom:
Source: The Swiss Medical Technology Industry Report – "MedTech at the Crossroads"
Over the years, Switzerland has time and again reasserted itself as the expert in the medical technology sector and made its mark with pioneering work in a number of other trailblazing fields such as artificial intelligence. The digital transformation that has been reshaping the healthcare industry will make ever greater use of AI in the future. Only last year, IBM deployed its Watson supercomputer to help quickly and precisely diagnose rare illnesses by scanning the patients’ medical histories, gathering detailed information through a surveys, and then converting the data into digital form.
In light of this digital transformation, mobile health, fusing technology in a novel, innovative manner, seems particularly interesting (or we’re just biased on the subject). Did you know that roughly 30,000 mHealth apps are downloaded every day? They help patients, doctors and lifestyle app users on daily basis by making diagnosis, analysis, and treatment easier.
Here are two brilliant examples that illustrate the level of Swiss innovation in the medtech field. Both these products were nominated for the 2018 Swiss Medtech Award and both have the potential to change lives:
These two offer a small glimpse of the sprawling Swiss medtech market. But as a meaningful software provider, we couldn't support the development of the mHealth sector more. We’re looking forward to see what the future will bring for the Medtech Valley.
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