Helsana report shows that cantonal planning and the actual provision of care do not mesh

The new “Region Report” produced by Helsana shows the flow of patients in Switzerland. Pa-tients are not bound by cantonal borders. Instead, they primarily seek out medical care region-ally. For this reason, care regions are a more realistic way to meet patient needs and better explain people’s behaviour than cantonal structures. On the whole, cantonal planning ap-proaches are being called into question because of the complexity involved in providing care. The report identifies the potential for intercantonal coordination of outpatient and inpatient care.


The formation of care regions has been a simmering issue in politics for years. Connected with this is the idea of organising existing healthcare structures more efficiently. The Region Report shows the flow of patients in Switzerland and looks at the extent to which patients sought medical services by region or by canton. When it comes to medical care, it shows that patients are not bound by cantonal borders. Instead, they seek out medical services within a much broader area. Patients mainly seek out basic care, such as the care provided by a primary care physician, locally. But specialised care is focused heavily on centres. In summary, the Region Report notes that care regions explain patient behaviour and existing cooperation networks significantly better. Care regions already exist de facto. The uncoordinated cantonal organisation of the Swiss healthcare system is increasingly being called into question because of cross-cantonal patient flows and care institutions.

Helsana identifies a great need for intercantonal cooperation

According to the Swiss Constitution and the Federal Health Insurance Act (KVG), private initiatives and tariff partners play an important role in the Swiss healthcare system. Actual responsibility for care does not therefore rest solely with the cantons. The analysis of care regions shows that there continue to be considerable cost differences despite the formation of regions. The cost differences cannot be fully explained by demographic structures or differences in morbidity. This finding points to inefficiencies in the care structures. Helsana has identified significant potential in the coordination between cantons to ensure patient-focused healthcare.

The Region Report is an expression of the commitment by Helsana to create more transparency in healthcare and to initiate a fact-based discussion. The care regions are mainly useful as a tool for making corporate and political decisions.

More information about Helsana’s Region Report can be found at: 

Region Report

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