Pr. Antoine Geissbuhler is the new BioAlps’ President
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A Digital Health specialist to promote the Swiss Health Valley and the number one and most diversified Life Sciences Cluster in Europe
After a selection process of several months, BioAlps’ Executive Committee identified a strong candidate to take over the role of Mr Claude Clément as President of the BioAlps Association. On Thursday 19 May 2022, during the Association’s General Assembly, Professor Antoine Geissbuhler was elected as President by the members of the assembly. He is the Chief Medical Officer of the e-Health and Telemedicine Department of the University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG), Vice-Rector of the University of Geneva (UNIGE) in charge of digital transformation and also leads the HUG Innovation Centre.
What does joining BioAlps mean for you?
I am thrilled to join BioAlps. This association, funded by the 7 cantons of Western Switzerland and their academic institutions, promotes the world-class life sciences hub. Western Switzerland’s ecosystem is indeed a fertile ground for medtech and biotech, and now digital health companies. It is this third pillar that I come from… and I hope, by joining BioAlps, to make the various players in the field of life sciences better known and connected: the industry, the innovation ecosystems, the hospitals and healthcare networks, the universities, the citizens, the patients and their relatives, etc.
How do you see the future of health and healthcare?
Healthcare and healthtech have entered the digital era. Care professionals and their patients increasingly use digital tools to provide personalised, participatory, predictive, and preventive medicine. We shall make sure that the principles and values from the health domain are preserved: benevolence (“first, do no harm”), equity, empathy, and preserving human dignity, to mention a few.
Will artificial intelligence become a must?
Artificial Intelligence is already around us: in assisted robotic surgery, in supporting medical diagnosis and treatment decisions, in data analytics for precision medicine and public health, in enhancing the participation of patients and citizens in their health and healthcare, in improving drug discovery, as well as in streamlining administrative processes. We must therefore learn, master, and adopt these tools, making sure that they are used responsibly and transparently while recognizing that many challenges still remain to be addressed.
An internist by training, he did a post-doc in clinical informatics at Vanderbilt University. Since 1999, he has held the chair of medical informatics at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Geneva, which is recognised as a WHO collaborating centre. A former president of the International Medical Informatics Association, he is interested in the potential of digital tools for the global development of health systems. Since 2016, he has been responsible for the HUG’s innovation centre, with which he designed and deployed the Concerto patient application. He also contributes to the work on the electronic patient record, notably through the mondossiermedical.ch project and the Cara platform.
Author of more than 180 scientific publications, he devotes part of his time to the design of new IT tools aimed at improving the quality and efficiency of care processes. His research team, Hi5lab, is interested in the implementation and impact evaluation of digital health tools. This work is applied at the local level of the Geneva health system, at the national level for the implementation of the Swiss e-health strategy, in the framework of European projects, as well as at the international level. In particular, he leads RAFT, a telemedicine network linking hundreds of health professionals in 20 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Professor Antoine Geissbuhler is, since 2018, also holder of the UNESCO Chair in Digital Medical Education. And since 2021, Director of the Geneva Hub for Global Digital Health and Chairman of the National Advisory Board of the Swiss Personalized Health Network.