Saturation of emergency services in Switzerland – Make the difference with our emergency feature!

Published on 01/02/2024

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“Patient triage”, “staff shortages” and “overcrowded emergency departments” are all terms that are all too familiar to anyone working in healthcare. With the pandemic, the situation in emergency departments has become even worse. One of the main causes? 70% of cases are not severe!

The need for a solution has never been greater. The statistics bear this out: even before the COVID-19 pandemic, emergency services were seeing increasing numbers of people. An increase of 30 to 40% between 2011 and 2016 compared to the previous year shows. The situation is clean: time to act!

But what is the right solution to this problem? For OneDoc, digitization will enable to tackle the problem in the long term. That’s why we developed an emergency feature.

The goal of the emergency feature

Emergency centers are seeing a rapid increase in the number of patients. However, it seems that emergency cases have not increased. Still, more and more people are visiting emergencies for non-urgent cases such as colds, constipation or tick bites, for example.

In some cantonal emergency departments, such as Basel, these minor cases account for over 70% of patients. These patients are classified in categories 3 and 4 of the ESI (Emergency Severity Index). In other words, they are classic cases and could be treated by a family doctor.

Emergency centers are consequently overloaded, and the constant influx of new patients makes “triage” more difficult. As a result, specialist and nursing staff are handling more and more cases, and already overloaded working hours have to be extended.

Methods used to date:

  • Fast Tracking: rapid treatment of patients with acute medical problems.
  • Creation of emergency surgeries & on-call services with regional GPs for the treatment of less serious cases.
  • Additional tax for minor cases: initiated by politicians, but not applied for ethical reasons.
  • Additional training and extended working hours for specialist staff.

This is where OneDoc’s emergency functionality, in collaboration with Medgate, comes in. Thanks to a tab on the application, a patient can contact a specialist to assess the situation and decide whether a visit to the emergency room is necessary or not.


How the emergency function relieves congestion in Switzerland’s emergency centers

To relieve congestion at local emergency centers, OneDoc offers an emergency function that can be used directly in our Android and iOS app. By clicking on the “emergency consultation” tab, users can contact a doctor by video or telephone in the following hours.

Example of emergency usage in the OneDoc App

Here’s how it works:

By clicking on the emergency consultation tab, the patient can:


  • Call 144 in the event of a life-threatening emergency
  • Or choose between the two options below if it is not a life-threatening emergency:
    • Book an emergency video consultation within the next few hours
    • Make a phone call to join a specialist within 10 seconds, thanks to Medgate


If a visit to the emergency room is necessary, the app will naturally be able to redirect the patient to a physical medical practice.

This function follows on from our tried-and-tested video consultation tool. Thanks to OneDoc’s network of professionals and our collaboration with Medgate, patients can be sure of receiving rapid, high-quality advice.


What are the advantages of the new emergency feature?

The emergency feature is a game changer that offers a digital response to emergency overload in Switzerland. Our analysis also shows that this feature indeed meets a patient need: hundreds of emergency video consultations have been booked through our app since its launch.


Here are just a few of the benefits of the emergency function:


  • Upstream digital sorting: no need to sort patients on the spot and keep them waiting for long periods. This saves nursing staff time, allowing them to focus on more serious cases.
  • Access to regional doctors: the app provides access to a vast network of recognized family doctors.
  • Crtified and secure system: OneDoc treats data confidentially and securely.
    The emergency feature therefore offers a number of advantages and alternatives, drawing on networks of recognized professionals and helping to strengthen the healthcare system.


We are convinced that the digitalization of the healthcare sector opens the door to new perspectives and a more accessible healthcare system for all. This feature is only part of what’s possible!


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