The Swiss Medical Board (SMB) emerged in 2009 from an initiative of the Canton of Zurich; by 2011 it was anchored at the national level with a broadly supported sponsorship by stakeholders in the health sector. As a Swiss competence center for "Health Technology Assessments (HTA)", the SMB analyzed medical treatments in terms of their cost-benefit ratio and thus made a contribution to good quality of care and efficient use of resources. The focus was on the question of the added value of one form of treatment over another.
By the time it ceased operations in 2022, the SMB had published a total of 23 HTA reports and 4 in-depth studies in collaboration with university institutes. At the same time, it has succeeded in establishing HTA as the standard for evaluating medical services in Switzerland.
A panel of renowned, independent experts was at the disposal of the SMB for the appraisal and the formulation of recommendations addressed at political decision-makers, medical professionals and other service providers.
The SMB did not have the competence to implement the recommendations resulting from HTA reports in a binding manner. Nevertheless, it succeeded in initiating public discussions about the benefits of controversial medical services and in sensitizing both service providers and the general public to the issues.
Information flyers for patients were produced on some topics. Under the auspices of the SMB an in collaboration with “smarter medicine”, a concept was developed for the production of "aids for practitioners".
The activities of the SMB have prompted the federal government to become active. In its "Health2020" strategy, the Federal Council has identified the strengthening of HTA as one of its priorities. A programme was launched to review potentially obsolete services provided under the compulsory health insurance.
The SMB discontinued its activities in mid-2022 because the proposed use of synergies with the federal programme, which has since been launched, did not materialize. In a comparatively small area pf health care supply such as Switzerland, it makes no sense to maintain parallel structures.