Swissmedic 4.0 Machine learning lets us focus on the actual problems.

The process of transformation from the analog to the digital world is under way, and progress is perceptible and visible in many areas. A glimpse behind the scenes with the movers in the team headed by Michael Renaudin shows that the motivation of all those involved is as great as the challenges that need to be overcome. The two IT professionals Christoph Jäggli and Nicolas Perez explain the developments regarding 4.0 at Swissmedic.

Current state of transformation

CJ: In the medical sector, the subject is still in its infancy. Although we at Swissmedic are also just starting out, we have already assembled a team of six people who are all working on transformation.


NP: With our agile development process, from the prototype via the minimum viable product (the first version of a product that facilitates early feedback) through to the go-live of a project, we have developed a specific tool. Not only is this easy to understand, we can also use it to get the teams involved and incorporate the relationship with people.

CJ: Swissmedic makes numerous innovations available to its staff, including vodcasts, live updates and digital presentations or training courses on subjects such as machine learning and artificial intelligence. We have also now acquired a valuable platform in "Visible".

Sense of achievement

CJ: We have already reached numerous employees personally with our workshops, which have allowed us to present our approaches and working methods. The positive feedback messages, including some valuable suggestions for improvement, have shown that we and our projects have been noticed and taken seriously.

Daily routine

NP: I'm not communicating with the Swissmedic experts at the moment, but I am using my time to program, improve existing applications and prepare idea workshops.

CJ: Nicolas and I deal mainly with the technical side – our colleagues Michael and Dominic focus primarily on finding out how innovative ideas can be integrated in the daily routine.

Work processes

CJ: By interacting directly with members of staff, we can explain what they should look out for in order to be able to identify digitisation projects and their potential. We show them the agile work processes and demonstrate how they can be incorporated in day-to-day procedures.

NP: We are working on the development of a tool that will enable possible drug names to be checked for similarity with existing ones, with the aim of avoiding possible mix-ups. The employees in Market Surveillance are very interested – within a year at the latest we will have the first tangible results.

"Machine learning makes each new application more realistic and tangible."

Nicolas Perez

CJ: Maintaining good links with the staff is essential; people themselves are absolutely key in digital transformation – the technology is just the means to the end. We help them simplify and improve their work processes, for example, to check for completeness when processing application texts or in literature searches. The key factor here is that the staff themselves must always indicate their needs. But it’s also important to take sufficient time to fully understand these needs.

NP: The more the staff are interested in us and our concerns, the more likely it is that we are able to provide valuable support. We want to find out what they are working on, we need feedback and suggestions for improvement.

Nicolas Perez und Christoph Jäggli
Nicolas Perez und Christoph Jäggli
Tangible improvements

CJ: We are confident that others will be able to adopt this agile approach. When changes arise, we can react and implement them faster, and adapt processes. As a result, we all work more dynamically. The greatest challenge is to get people involved, allay their fears and convince them of the benefits of simplification. In the end, everyone needs to give their support.


NP: Although I've only been here for a short while and am still getting to know the staff, I've already had numerous fruitful discussions. Michel Renaudin is a fantastic trailblazer. He has developed relationships with people, knows the teams and brings the necessary experience of how people move within the company.

CJ: I think that making the initial contact is very important. I prefer a personal video call or, even better, direct interaction with everyone involved.


CJ: We can call on the expertise of personnel in every specialist area – people we refer to as our “4.0 ambassadors”. A defined portion of their workload is even assigned to us, enabling them to actively monitor our processes and create interfaces.

NP: The ambassadors play a key role in implementing our ideas. They are on our side and represent and share our ideas. Sometimes, they come up with their own ideas and create a good balance with our own concerns.

"Maintaining good links with the staff is essential; people themselves are absolutely key in digital transformation."

Christoph Jäggli

CJ: We hope to be able to move closer together with all our collaborating partners – especially at the process level; from the producers, via the user supervisors through to the users themselves. As a result, we can accelerate the processes and make them more efficient. Data protection guidelines and safety principles are also important, and we have regular discussions on this aspect with partners and specialist units in other countries.

Machine Learning

NP: The umbrella term artificial intelligence covers numerous aspects. Machine learning lets us focus on the actual challenges. It makes all the applications that we develop more realistic and tangible. With machine learning we can analyse images and text and read data. Huge developments have emerged in this area over the past ten years. But the first objective must always be to identify the problems and needs before getting started.


CJ: We deal with a wide variety of data in various areas: medicine, internet of things – i.e. the global infrastructure that enables physical and virtual objects to be linked to each other – wastewater-related and environmental data. We can amalgamate and evaluate all the data. The trend is clearly in the direction of data expansion. We feel it’s essential to conduct a detailed analysis for every project in order to find out what is important – and what is not.


The Swissmedic 4.0 Team

Michael Renaudin

"Better to try quickly and fail than to regret not having tried at all."

Michael Renaudin
Matthias Müller

"Digital transformation needs creative approaches that don't just originate from attitudes of the past."

Matthias Müller
Dominic Michel

"Innovation always encounters resistance – that is the nature of the beast"

Dominic Michel
Alexander Horst

"Change can also be viewed as an opportunity."

Alexander Horst
Christoph Jäggli

"It is vital that none of us slips into a single role, but that we all share our thoughts with each other at regular intervals."

Christoph Jäggli
Nicolas Perez

"I'm interested in what people find important – I discover this by talking with them."

Nicolas Perez