How can NCD services be more successful? – A guide for creating successful business models for NCD companies

80% of the Swiss health care costs are spent on non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

This means every fourth person in Switzerland suffers at least from one NCD. Often, we hope that somehow innovative ideas and startups can in some way mitigate this severe disgrace.  But at the same time we can see that building up new innovative ideas in the healthcare system is difficult as it is  heterogenous, inefficient and fragmented. Even worse, it is said that 90% of healthcare startups fail. So how can we make innovative healthcare solutions succeed in such a challenging healthcare environment?

Among others, this work will tackle the following questions:

  • How do companies, research centers, health insurers and other institutions work together?
  • What kind of business models work in what kind of health care ecosystem?
  • How can these business models be scaled up in order to reduce the financial burden of the healthcare system?

What do we want to find out?

What results are we expecting? 

The identified clusters of NCD organizations will provide a global overview of the NCD landscape (RQ1). The derived business model patterns can be used to systematically assess NCD organizations that focus on tertiary prevention (RQ2). Finally, the business model patterns (RQ2) and the assessment of their scalability (RQ3) will provide a first version of a business model framework based on the Business Model Navigator (Gassmann et al., 2019) for scalable NCD services. This framework will be validated and revised in the following years with a specific geographic focus: Switzerland, Austria, and Germany.

We have two main goals


Lecture on Emerging Business Models in Digital Health by Prof. Dr. Tobias Kowatsch, University of St.Gallen

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Related Work

Mekniran, W., Kowatsch, T., Scalable Business Models in Digital Healthy Longevity: Lessons from Top-Funded Digital Health Companies in 2022, In Proceedings of the 16th International Joint Conference on Biomedical Engineering Systems and Technologies – Scale-IT-up, 16 – 16-18 February 2023, Lisbon, Portugal, ISBN 978-989-758-631-6; ISSN 2184-4305, 609-15. 10.5220/0011778400003414. [PDF]

Tangour, Cyrine & Gebauer, Marc & Fischer, Luise & Winkler, Herwig. (2019). Digital Business Model Patterns of Big Pharmaceutical Companies – A Cluster Analysis, 10.1007/978-3-030-30874-2_31.

Safavi K, Mathews SC, Bates DW, Dorsey ER, Cohen AB. Top-Funded Digital Health Companies And Their Impact On High-Burden, High-Cost Conditions. Health Aff (Millwood). 2019 Jan;38(1):115-123.,  10.1377/hlthaff.2018.05081.

Garbuio, M., & Lin, N. (2019). Artificial Intelligence as a Growth Engine for Health Care Startups: Emerging Business Models. California Management Review61(2), 59–83.

Essén, A., Stern, A.D., Haase, C.B. et al. Health app policy: international comparison of nine countries’ approaches. npj Digit. Med. 5, 31 (2022).

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In Brief

Our study aims to examine the key NCD institutions worldwide, analyzing their business model patterns and ecosystems in order to establish a comprehensive business model framework for NCD services specifically tailored to the DACH region.

Research Team

Odile-Florence Giger
Prof. Dr. Tobias Kowatsch
Prof. Dr. Elgar Fleisch


May 2023 – December 2026

Odile-Florence Giger
Odile-Florence Giger Ph.D. candidate and doctoral researcher at the Center for Digital Health Interventions, CSS Health Lab