04 Social inequalities in the provision of in-patient healthcare in Switzerland

The health of individuals is determined in part by their social status. In Switzerland, however, little is known about the interplay of socio-economic and social factors, poor health and the provision of healthcare. This is the starting point for the study.

  • Project description (ongoing research project)

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    Existing medical and socio-economic data will be combined and linked in anonymised form in a new database. The database will cover 600,000 people aged 15 and over accounting for a total of 80,000 hospitalisations. The correlations between the characteristics of in-patient treatment and follow-up care, social status and belonging to a vulnerable group will then undergo statistical analysis. Focus groups with patients and specialists from the fields of medicine, migration and social affairs will enhance the quality of the results. Approaches for improving the quality of care provided to vulnerable groups will be developed.

  • Background

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    Data show that low social status is associated with a greater risk of falling ill and dying. In-depth knowledge about the relevant clinical pictures and medical treatments and about the care provided for affected groups within the population is needed in order to improve the quality of medical care. However, in Switzerland these interrelationships cannot be studied because the data basis does not exist. The reason for this is that healthcare data are not linked to data from the social sphere.

  • Aim

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    The aim of the study is to link hospital data with data describing social status. On this basis, correlations will be identified between socio-economic and social factors, specific chronic diseases, the use of hospital services and the quality of the associated results.

  • Relevance / application

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    The study will help to improve healthcare provision to vulnerable groups and reduce social inequality in provision. As such, it will contribute to improving the health of the Swiss population. It will also create a basis for establishing monitoring of the socio-economic and social factors relating to the provision of healthcare. In addition, it is intended to transfer suitable indicators to a national health monitoring programme.

  • Original title

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    Social Inequalities and Hospitalisations in Switzerland SIHOS