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Digital Society Initiative

Majority of Swiss want a digital twin

Almost two-thirds of the Swiss population would like to have a digital twin. The digital image of a human body is likely to have a major impact on healthcare in the future and will become an issue in diagnosis and therapy, but also in prevention. The Digital Society Initiative (DSI), together with GFS Bern, conducted a representative survey on the topic in Switzerland.

In the coming years, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in medicine will profoundly change the possibilities in diagnosis and therapy, but also prevention, as well as the associated processes and responsibilities in healthcare. For this reason, in the «Strategy Lab» of the Digital Society Initiative (DSI) experts from the University of Zurich and other organizations have addressed the question in a systematic and participatory process: «Which objectives and associated recommendations lead to the responsible use of AI in medicine?»

Four case studies were developed that demonstrate the changes in medicine due to AI over time. The digital twin –  i.e. the digital image of a human being – was identified as an important development in the future and goals as well as recommendations for the responsible use of digital twins in medicine were developed. In this context, a representative survey was conducted in Switzerland in collaboration with GFS Bern.

Of the nearly 1,500 respondents, 62% were in favor of using a digital twin. Interestingly, approval was particularly high among older people. 79% are of the opinion that only health professionals should use such digital twins to improve diagnosis and therapy. 87% support the statement that there should be no compulsion to use digital twins, even if this means that patients can one day be treated less effectively.

64% are in favor of sharing data anonymously in order to develop such digital twins. However, the majority of respondents are critical when it comes to sharing data with private companies. 69% distrust the pharmaceutical industry, 68% distrust tech companies, and 66% distrust health insurance companies that they would use Digital Twins correctly and in the best interest of patients. Thus, 75% of respondents believe that the state should create the technical and organizational conditions for the use of digital twins. Trust in public institutions is correspondingly high: 79% trust universities, 75% trust public hospitals and 62% trust federal offices that they would use a digital twin in the interests of patients.

The first results of the survey summarized on a onepager (in German) can be found here (PDF, 162 KB).

All info about the Strategy Lab can be found here.

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