Quantified Self - Interface between Lifestyle and Medicine

Expert study


Cheap sensors in portable devices and an ever increasing number of smartphone applications covering health issues make it possible: the continuous monitoring of the body. «Quantified Self», the quantification of life by means of measurement, transmission and evaluation of data on physical functions, fits well with the concept of «Big Data» in medicine.

The abundance of data should help to acquire knowledge for the early detection of diseases and the optimisation of therapies, and also provide information on which factors might be conducive to good health. But handling health-related data is a sensitive issue and should meet high standards in terms of data protection.

The interdisciplinary study investigates the opportunities and risks primarily in the «Self-Tracking» applications widespread in the lifestyle sector. Of particular interest here are the interfaces with medically-relevant questions and the importance of «Big Data» in medicine. The study intends to show which devices and services are already available, which areas of application are conceivable in the future and which social, ethical, legal and economic issues are associated with such applications.


Project duration

Begins April 2016, ends autumn 2017

Project mandataries

Head: Prof. Dr Heidrun Becker, School of Health Professions, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW)

Project team:

  • Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften ZHAW, Departement Gesundheit: Ursula Meidert, Mandy Scheermesser
  • School of Management and Law: Brigitte Blum-Schneider, Yvonne Prieur, Matthias Schweizer
  • School of Engineering: Kurt Stockinger 
  • IZT – Institut für Zukunftsstudien und Technologiebewertung, Berlin: Michaela Evers-Wölk, Britta Oertel

Supported by

  • Swiss Federal Office of Public Health FOPH
  • Coordinating body Confederation and Cantons «eHealth Switzerland»
  • National Advisory Commission on Biomedical Ethics NCE

Advisory group

  • Bruno Baeriswyl, Datenschutzbeauftragter des Kantons Zürich / Mitglied TA-SWISS-Leitungsausschuss
  • Christiane Brockes-Bracht, Klinische Telemedizin, Universitätsspital Zürich
  • Elisabeth Ehrensperger, Geschäftsleiterin Nationale Ethikkommission im Bereich der Humanmedizin NEK 
  • Barbara Hochstrasser, Burnoutstation «au soleil», Privatklinik Meiringen
  • Hermann Kollmar, Firma Medgate, Basel 
  • Christian Lovis, Medical Information Sciences, Universität Genf 
  • Thomas Müller, Redaktor Radio SRF / Mitglied TA-SWISS-Leitungsausschuss
  • Marc Raemy, Bundesamt für Gesundheit BAG 
  • Katja Rost, Soziologisches Institut, Universität Zürich / Mitglied NEK
  • Adrian Schmid, Koordinationsorgan Bund-Kantone eHealth Suisse
  • Giatgen Spinas, Universitätsspital Zürich / Mitglied TA-SWISS-Leitungsausschuss, Vorsitzender der Begleitgruppe 
  • Franziska Sprecher, Öffentliches Recht, Medizin- und Gesundheitsrecht; Universität Bern
  • Barbara Züst, Stiftung SPO Patientenschutz
  • Hans-Jörg Zweifel, Medizintechnik Zweifel GmbH, Unterengstringen; Experte «life sciences» der Kommission für Technologie und Innovation KTI

Project management TA-SWISS

 Dr Adrian Rüegsegger, TA-SWISS (E-Mail)

More about the study and the subject

Background materials

Questions raised in the study (d)


The speculative scenarios of Ludwig Zeller and Bernd Hopfengärntern imagine a possible future ruled by Big Data. They were part of an exhibition which took place in the summer of 2015 at the House of Electronic Arts (HeK) in Basel. 

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