Digital is everywhere - not just on Digital Day in Kaiseraugst

Plenty of digital inspiration at the Digital Day in Kaiseraugst: internal and external experts demonstrated in over 20 events what is already possible today and where the digital journey can take us.

"Digital is everywhere today, practically every part of our lives has a digital component. It's great how we are exchanging ideas on digital projects across functions here." There was a spirit of optimism among the more than 200 participants at the Digital Day in Kaiseraugst. Digitalisation projects from across the company were presented in over 20 events and at a marketplace. Together on the path to advancing the future of our work with the help of data and digital solutions.

The event got off to a very practical start. Paul Strijbos, Principal Neurotech Innovation Lead, presented "Syde": the first health technology to be approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) as a digital primary endpoint for studies on Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).

Syde is worn on the ankle like a fitness tracker and is used to support therapy for diseases with movement disorders. It records the patient's gait pattern in everyday life independently of GPS and with high precision. This allows the progression of the disease and therapy to be tracked precisely without restricting them.

Anonymised health data promotes progress

Caroline Lustenberger, PhD, ETH Zurich, is researching the effects of sleep on the heart and Alzheimer's dementia, among other things. It was only by chance that she came into contact with a colleague in Colombia who knew of an area near Medellin where, for genetic reasons, a large proportion of the population develops Alzheimer's disease at around the age of 40. There, Lustenberger was able to successfully advance her search for biomarkers for the early diagnosis of the disease. In her view, it is desirable that a common data platform, rather than chance, facilitates the search for suitable study groups. This is an example of how important centralised access to anonymised health data would be for research and development. The Roche Switzerland-wide campaign "Sharing helps cure" is also focussing on this topic (see box below).

Sustainably digital

Digitalisation affects all aspects of sustainability. We are already active in many areas at Roche. As a member of the Valuable 500, an association of 500 companies that aims to end exclusion due to disability, Roche has also committed to digital accessibility: All of the company's digital information and platforms shall be usable by all stakeholders.

At Roche, we are also aware that AI can have an enormous carbon footprint. According to the International Energy Agency, data centres, cryptocurrencies and AI were responsible for around two percent of global electricity demand in 2022. This consumption of 460 terawatt hours could rise to 1050 terawatt hours by 2026.1 By comparison, electricity consumption in Switzerland in 2022 was 57 terawatt hours.2

We should all be aware that every digital application leaves a footprint, both digitally and in terms of energy. AI in particular is very energy-intensive. In addition to responsible use in terms of confidentiality and data protection, we should fundamentally ask ourselves whether AI is needed at all to solve a problem.

"If the digital transformation is to work, it needs all of us, across hierarchies and functions. The Digital Day aims to arouse curiosity and inspire. It wants to promote dialogue and personal initiative. And it wants to be part of this change," says Lucas Gartenmann Dickson, Portfolio Manager Data Science Training. Listening to him, it becomes clear once again that digitalisation offers huge potential for Roche as a company, for patients and for us as people - if we embrace it.

Roche in Switzerland launched the information campaign "Sharing helps cure" in June. It provides an overview of how the company is implementing digitalisation. It also explains how the use of health data is driving medical and social progress and the benefits for each individual.


1.The Verge


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