Data that is not available is data that cannot be used, for any purpose. Key to the Swiss Learning Health System's (SLHS's) goal of providing tools for the enhancement of communication between research, policy, and practice in the Swiss health system is access to relevant, timely and useable health data. This requires standardization and the capacity to make data comparable that has been collected from a variety of health settings, registries and administrative sources by a variety of actors using a variety of data collection tools and methods. In addition, disparate data sets need to be linked and information from various sources needs to be aggregated.
The SLHS will, supported by its partner communities, identify and update an inventory of data sources for health services and systems research, such as clinical registries and cohort studies, national panels and surveys, hospital and insurance data, and government statistics. This entails identifying legal challenges in accessing protected data and possible ways to accommodate these based on the experience and best practice of the SLHS partners. Moreover, the SLHS will assist researchers in data source selection, mathematical linkage and methodologies to analyze these generally complex and often multi-level data sets. As a SLHS service, the expertise of the Health Data Warehouse will be open to the public.