Wednesday, 2 November 2022

CIHT 2022: Croatia's Premier Health Tourism Conference Turns 10 in Style

November 2, 2022 - Kvarner cements its reputation as the de facto capital of the Croatian medical tourism story, as the Crikvenica International Health Tourism (CIHT) conference marks its 10th anniversary jubilee with yet another outstanding conference and list of participants. 

There has been a lot of uncertainty in the world in the last decade, and tourism is no exception. But there is one corner of Croatian tourism, where things have remained fairly constant, growing every year and attracting global excellence from all corners of the planet. 

It is 5 years since I discovered that Croatia even had a medical tourism industry of note, when Ognjen Bagatin introduced me to the excellent Zagreb trio of Poliklinika Bagatin, St Catherine's Specialty Hospital, and Svjetlost Eye Clinic, but while the Croatian capital had an impressive lineup of services, it did not take me long to realise that the centre of medical tourism excellence in Croatia lay on the coast in Kvarner, where a concentration of truly outstanding medical tourism experts - in a variety of fields, were offering some of the best - and most affordable medical tourism services in Europe, ably organised by the umbrella organisation, The Kvarner Health Tourism Cluster. 


At the centre of those promotional efforts was a conference which started small back in 2013, went online during the pandemic, but last month celebrated its jubilee 10th anniversary firmly established as the leading health tourism conference in the region, with a truly outstanding list of international expert speakers. When I first attended the conference back in 2018, I was impressed by the number of medical tourism superstars with no obvious connection to Croatia who had made the journey to take part. These included Keith Pollard, Editor-in-Chief of the International Medical Travel Journal, and Sherine Azli, CEO of the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council, voted the best medical tourism country in the world. Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic and many other prestigious names have taken part over the years. 

After the turbulence of the pandemic years, medical tourism in Croatia is back on track, largely due to the energy of the movers and shakers from Kvarner. An overview of this year's CIHT 2022 conference below.  You can learn more about CIHT 2022 on the official website.


The jubilee 10th CIHT confirmed its reputation as a leading regional conference on health tourism

This year's jubilee 10th consecutive CIHT (Crikvenica International Health Tourism) conference, held on October 20 and 21 in a hybrid form, in Hotel Omorika and online, gathered in one place more than 20 lecturers from 7 countries and over 300 participants eager for new knowledge about the position, challenges, future and trends in health tourism. The growing attendance and interest in this conference speaks volumes about the importance of a strategic development plan for health tourism in order to better position Kvarner and Croatia on the map of health tourism destinations in the world.


"The CIHT conference achieved its goal again this year - it gathered top experts from all over the world in the field of health tourism. About 120 participants gathered in Crikvenica live, and even more online. These two days were very interesting in terms of exchanging information, experiences and knowledge, and we will certainly all leave richer for some new knowledge that we will apply in practice. As for the future of the CIHT conference, we are already planning new ideas, speakers and topics, and I invite everyone to join us at the CIHT conference in 2023", said the director of the Tourist Board of the City of Crikvenica, Marijana Biondić.


One of the special features of this conference is that it brings experts from different professions such as medicine, tourism, marketing and business, which gives a diverse and comprehensive perspective on this prosperous branch of tourism. The conference ideally connects the experiences of the public and private sectors, experts and representatives of health institutions with practical experience. The covid period was challenging, especially for the health sector and its related sectors, therefore this year's conference was guided by the idea of ​​providing answers to the questions of how to adapt to the changed needs of patients and how to recognize the potential of your destination and harmonize it with market requirements.


After the workshop, in honor of the 10th anniversary, an award ceremony was held last night for institutions and individuals who, through their successful activities, are responsible for the development of health tourism in Croatia. The following were awarded: Special Hospital Akromion, Special Hospital for Ophthalmology Svjetlost, Polyclinic Glavić, Special Hospital Krapinske Toplice, Special Hospital Stubičke Toplice, Special Hospital Sveta Katarina, Special Hospital for Orthopedics Dr. Nemec, Polyclinic Rident, Thalassotherapia Opatija, Terme Selce, Thalassotherapia Crikvenica, Ognjen Bagatin and Marcel Medak.


While yesterday the topics of trends in health tourism, investments and development of health tourism were in the center, today's presentations were aimed at identifying the market - who are the patients who use services in health tourism, how to improve the service to meet their needs, how to become an attractive institution and destination for new types of tourists and how to achieve competitiveness and break into new markets.


The successful edition of the 10th anniversary CIHT conference is the result of the cooperation of four organizations that put Kvarner on the map of world destinations for rest and rehabilitation: the Tourist Board of the City of Crikvenica and the Kvarner Health Tourism Cluster as organizers, and Thalassotherapy Crikvenica and Selce Thermal Spa as co-organizers.


"I think that all participants, and we as organizers, are satisfied with this year's conference. There was a lot of exchange of experiences, agreements, specific joint work, and ideas for the next conference were also obtained with regard to the directions in which health tourism is moving - from the use of digitization, artificial intelligence, regional differences... We are already creating plans and topics for next year , and we also invited some of this year's lecturers to join us", said Assoc. Ph.D. Vladimir Mozetič, MD, president of the Kvarner Health Tourism Cluster.

The general sponsor of the 10th CIHT conference is Jadran-galenski laboratorij d.d., a Croatian pharmaceutical company with global success and recognition. The conference is supported by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, whose support was crucial in the organization of this conference. The conference is also supported by: Ministry of Health, Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, Croatian Tourist Board, Kvarner Tourist Board, Croatian Chamber of Commerce and City of Crikvenica. Conference partners are Orto Nova - Dental Medicine Center, AmCham - American Chamber of Commerce in Croatia, Jadran d.d. and Ericsson Nikola Tesla d.d. Media sponsors are Jutarnji list and Lider.

After the worthy celebration of the 10th anniversary, preparations for the 11th edition of the conference will soon follow, again with top experts from respected world institutions, interesting discussions on current topics and numerous news.

For the latest news and features on medical tourism in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section


Monday, 8 November 2021

Kvarner Full of Health Tourism Opportunity, as CIHT 2021 Shines

November 8, 2021 - Arguably the leading health tourism conference in the region exceeds expectations once again, and the opportunities are numerous for Kvarner Full of Health at CIHT 2021.

Full disclosure - I love everything about the Crikvenica International Health Tourism (CIHT) conference, and I rate it as the very best of all the (many) conferences I have attended in Croatia over the years.

Medical tourism is not a niche I would normally associate myself with. In fact, until the dynamo that is Ognjen Bagatin of the award-winning Bagatin Clinic introduced me to the sector a few years ago, I didn't even realise that Croatia had a quality medical tourism sector. 


And then I went to CIHT 2018, met this lady, and life was never the same again. 

There were tears of admiration and of envy from the largely Croatian health tourism sector audience as Sherene Azli, the charismatic CEO of the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council, explained in detail how Malaysia had taken its medical tourism industry from nothing to about $2 billion dollars through a hugely successful public/private partnership and a hashtag that would never catch on in Croatia sadly - #TogetherWeWin. You can read Lessons from Malaysia in Croatia: MHTC CEO Sherene Azli on Health Tourism.

Nine months later, sporting a Varteks suit, I found myself in the rather surreal position of accepting an award in Kuala Lumpur at the inaugural Medical Travel Media Awards in August 2019. 

The thing was, however, that Sherene was far from being the only world-class speaker on the stage in Crikvenica. At CIHT 2018, I also interviewed Keith Pollard, Editor of International Medical Travel Journal, as well as branding experr, Ilan Geva from the USA - Croatian Medical Tourism: Great Potential, Collaborate or Die Says Ilan Geva.

I had no idea that the topic of medical tourism could be so interesting, or full of so much (yes, the P word again in Croatian tourism) potential. I was hooked. 


Over the years, CIHT has consistently thought out of the box, bringing different viewpoints, not all of which are focused 100% on health tourism. Global tourism expert Doug Lansky was the star of the show two years ago with Lessons for Croatia: Successful Tourism by Doug Lansky at CIHT 2019.

Added to the fact that CIHT is superbly run and has a great social aspect to it, and little wonder that it is the first conference I look out for. October 6-7, 2022 are already in my diary for CIHT 2022. 


And this year's event brought so much brain food, and the timing of so of its presentations was timely indeed. I could go on for hours but here are some key points which tie in to developing Croatia's untapped opportunities. 


One of the great initiatives in the medical tourism sector has been the Medical Tourism Task Force, as part of the American Croatian Professionals Association (ACAP). Cleveland has a very strong Croatian connection with medical tourism, most notably in the form of the CEO of Cleveland Clinic, Tomislav Mihaljevic. Ognjen Bagatin has done a phenomenal job over the years strengthening that relationship, and ACAP's Jeana Havidich flew in to address the conference to update the conference on progress being made to attract the target audience od 1.2 million Croatian diaspora.


Jeana was followed by our favourite Dutch wannabe tomato-grower, Jan de Jong. Best-known for his successful push to bring a digital nomad visa to Croatia, Jan gave a  great presentation on Croatia, the Land of Opportunity and his version of Living the Croatian Dream. Jan has really developed as a public speaker since I first heard him at Business Cafe International in Zagreb a couple of years ago. And his positivity is infectious, and it is slowly dripfeeding into the Croatian mindset of many local people. 

And then I made my first big connection of the day - a wonderful opportunity.  

Until now, the focus has been on trying to attract foreign patients to come to  Croatia for treatment. But now there is another opportunity, far bigger than the 1.2 million diaspora in the USA - the remote worker. 

Due to the efforts of Jan and many others, Croatia is starting to attract a significant number of digital nomads and remote workers. We are at the tip of the iceberg and the beginning of a journey, and this - at least in my opinion - is the biggest opportunity Croatia has to develop its tourism sustainably. 

The big difference between the diaspora and remote worker in terms of targeting is that the remote worker is already coming here for an extended period. They are choosing Croatia for the lifestyle, excellent WiFi, safety, nature, authentic experiences, food and drink, accessibility and affordability. The majority do not even know that Croatia has a world-class medical tourism industry. Imagine if they were educated on the potential (an overview here) - one more great reason to choose Croatia for the next office. 


I was beginning to think that CIHT organisers Alfred and Vladimir were organising presentations just for me. One of the initiatives I am involved with is to restart winter tourism on the Croatian coast. Did you know, for example, about the following number of international routes connected with winter flights: Dubrovnik (2), Split (6 - 2 different countries), Banja Luka (14 - 8 countries), Nis, Serbia (12 - 7 countries), Thessaloniki (80 - 23 countries), Bari (76 - 18 countries), Alicante (167 - 24 countries), Venice (75 - 26 countries). Read more in Wow! Comparing Split, Dubrovnik Winter Flights to ExYu, Mediterranean Competition.

Velimir Sonje, CEO of Croatian startup ETF Airways (which flies all over Europe but not in Croatia) gave a great presentation on Croatian Tourism and Airlines: a Missed Opportunity. Lots of thought-provoking stuff that I will be exploring in greater detail with Velimir over a beer in Zagreb soon.  


Next up was another hero of mine, achieving incredible things and promoting both Croatia and its healthy lifestyle internationally. Vladomir Miholjevic has done so much to put Croatia on the global cycling map, from bringing his Bahrain Merida (as it was then) to Hvar for winter training for several years, to organising the fabulous CRO Race, an event that was beamed all over the globe. 

And then I realised what it is that I love about CIHT - it is a place where Croatian world-class excellence is celebrated by real people who are doing not talking. 

And connecting, to make a better eco-system for all. 


And then came the presentation that blew my mind, as Maria Antonietta Princivalle from BookingsMed gave a fascinating overview of the outbound Italian medical tourism market. According to Maria, Croatia has an excellent medical tourism reputation in Italy, both in terms of price and quality. And the Italian market brings significant revenue to the clinics of Istria and Kvarner. 

But how much of an opportunity is Croatia missing out on with this captive market - great reputation, proximity, no language barrier?


Some 550,000 Italian patients go abroad each year for thermal cures, some driving as far as Prague.


Some 350,000 cross the border each year for aesthetic treatment, as far away as Thailand and Brazil.  


Back to Croatian excellence. Next up, Branimir Blajic, who gave a fascinating presentation of the case study of Sveti Martin in promoting local producers and their local products.


This is SUCH an obvious one for Croatia to develop, with its rich network of small producers of high-quality produce. Blajic showed how it could be done, and TCN will soon be reporting from Medjimurje on this excellent initiative, as well as exploring how we can expand its scope. 


And no CIHT conference would be complete without the visionary legendica, Vlasta Brozicevic of Teme Selce, who gave an inspiring presentation entitled Game Changer in Health and Wellbeing Holistic Solutions. 


It is a sign of the growing relevance and excellence of CIHT that medical tourism professionals of the quality of Mario Skugor, of Cleveland Clinic, flew in for the conference. It was great to see full two-day attendance from the Zagreb Tourist Board and the medical tourism department of the Ministry of Tourism, as well as the Ministry of Health. It was, however, a little disappointing (although not surprising) that the Kingdom of Accidental Tourism, aka the Croatian National Tourist Board, could not make the 2-hour journey from Zagreb when others had made such an effort, only joining remotely. 

An outstanding two days, with great networking and new opportunities. There seems to be a renewed momentum within the Croatian medical tourism industry. And as one can see from the above, the opportunities are plentiful. 

CIHT 2022 will take place on October 6-7, 2022 - it promises to be quite a 10-year party. 

To learn more about the Kvarner Health Tourism Cluster and its excellent work, visit the official website

Read more - 'The Healing Garden of Europe': Kvarner Health Cluster's Vladimir Mozetic Interview.

Thursday, 10 December 2020

Paul Bradbury Wins Medical Travel Journalist of the Year at MTMA 2020 in Malaysia

December 10, 2020 - Total Croatia News is pleased to announce the results of a successful night in Malaysia at the MTMA 2020 media awards in Kuala Lumpur. 

The second Medical Travel Media Awards, organised by the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council, took place earlier today in an online ceremony in Kuala Lumpur. 

The awards, aimed at recognising journalistic efforts at promoting health tourism in Malaysia, are the first such global awards in the industry, with award categories for both local and international journalists in the categories of best print feature, best broadcast feature, best online feature, best editorial team, and medical travel journalist of the year.  


This year's ceremony attracted more than 400 entries from 11 countries, significantly up on the 250 submissions in the inaugural event at MTMA 2019 16 months ago.  

It was a good night for TCN, with CEO Paul Bradbury winning the MTMA 2020 International Medical Travel Journalist of the Year, ahead of other finalists, Neang Sopheap from the Phnom Penh Post in Cambodia and Jannatul Islam form the Daily Sun in Bangladesh.   

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TCN also had two entries in the five finalists for best online feature - Inna Bergman on the Origins and Rise of Israel as a Medical Tourism Destination and Malaysia Healthcare Marvel Wins Big at IMTJ 2019 Berlin Medical Tourism Awards.

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TCN also made the final three for Best Editorial Team of the Year.  

The online MTMA 2020 awards were a necessary precaution due to the global pandemic and in contrast to the 2019 event, in which Bradbury also won an award, for Best Online Feature of the Year. 

The Malaysian health tourism travel story is one of the most inspirational in this rapidly expanding industry, and the Malaysian Healthcare Travel Council have become known as one of the innovative pioneers of the industry, led by inspirational CEO Sherene Azli. 

You can learn more about the MTMA 2020 awards on the official website

Thursday, 3 December 2020

Claudia Mika, Daniel Shaw in EPIC Webinar on Innovations & Standards: Conflict or Convergence?

December 3, 2020 - The EPIC Webinars continue, with Claudia Mika of TEMOS and Daniel Coulton-Shaw of GCR discussing Innovations & Standards: Conflict or Convergence?

It has been 8 months since the postponement of the European Patient experience & Innovations Congress, and since then EPIC activities have been transferred to the online world in the form of monthly webinars. Among EPIC partners, we have added Cisco Webex, an American company that develops and sells web conferencing and video conferencing programs. It was founded as WebEx in 1995 and was taken over by Cisco Systems in 2007. Their platform allowed to hold one-hour EPIC Webinars once a month on current topics complementary to the conceptual themes of the congress. Our webinar speakers are mostly lecturers already planned and presented for the original congress. So far, 6 webinars with 10 speakers have been held, and online participants from 35 countries around the world participated and listened to EPIC webinars, asking questions and actively discussed the topics.

EPIC is a stage and platform for bringing together experts in health and innovation that has a wide range of activities, but also potential outcomes for all gathered.

The next webinar, and thus the last in 2020, will be held on December 17th 2020 at 6.00 pm CET on the topic Innovations & Standards: Conflict or Convergence? December speakers are Dr. Claudia Mika - Founder and CEO of Temos International Healthcare Accreditation and Daniel C. Shaw - Ambassador for the Global Clinic Rating.

Dr. Mika has been advising different associations and governmental institutions regarding quality related topics, patient experience and international patient management. She was awarded the Dr. Sanjiv Malik Lifetime Award for her significant contribution to the development of the medical travel sector. In 2020, Dr. Mika developed together with her expert team a set of standards to help healthcare organizations worldwide to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission in healthcare settings.

Anyone who knows Daniel Coulton Shaw will tell you that he is an enthusiastic storyteller full of practical ideas that will set your head spinning. His entertaining presentations are largely inspired by the successes and failures from 152 forward-thinking international private medical organizations, health clusters, hospitals, clinics and practices across 26 countries worldwide of multiple specialties. Daniel loves to put theory into practice in the day-to-day running of a successful international dental clinic for English-speaking patients in central Europe that he co-founded back in 2007.


Google is betting that the future of healthcare is going to be structured data and AI. Along with Apple, Amazon and their Asian equivalents, these companies are applying AI to disease detection, new data infrastructure, and potentially insurance. In this months EPIC webinar, Daniel Coulton Shaw explores how the standards of healthcare provided and the choices of the patient are exponentially expanding.

If AI can shape healthcare and patient choice, it has to work through the regulations of healthcare … In fact, I see that as one of the biggest areas where the focus of Google will play out for the next 10 – 20 years.” — Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google

Accreditation in healthcare, which should include regular onsite inspections plays a crucial role in maintaining quality, patient safety and experience, outcomes, and much more.

When the pandemic reached us earlier this year, it forced Temos to overcome the first shock, face the challenge, and react. The standard procedures that had worked for more than ten years had to be revisited. In this case,” innovation” was needed where “standardization” is a keyword.

After consulting key stakeholders, it was decided to postpone all scheduled in-person onsite assessments to prevent risks for the assessors and the healthcare providers. At the same time, it was clear that this must not have any negative consequences for the organizations’ accreditation cycle. Flexible planning for accreditation programs became the new “standard” to develop COVID-19 safe hospital and clinic environments.

Join this great webinar on December 17th at 6:00 CET at the following link.

For more on the Croatian medical tourism industry, follow the dedicated TCN link

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

CIHT 2020: 8th Crikvenica International Health Tourism Conference in a Completely New Setting!

October 20, 2020 - One of Croatia's most important medical tourism conferences, CIHT 2020, will go ahead next month, albeit in a very different format.  

The Crikvenica International Health Tourism Conference will be held for the eighth time in a row, on the 12th and 13th of November 2020, in a virtual form. Due to the circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic, this conference, which was traditionally organized on the Crikvenica Riviera, will change its concept and move to a completely online environment, it will be completely free of charge and the participants will be able to attend via new CIHT mobile app.

In order to present world trends and European experiences in health tourism, its marketing opportunities, as well as to present the achievements of Croatia and the best examples from practice, this two-day conference will host national and foreign experts in health, tourism, and marketing. The speakers who confirmed their participation are Keith Pollard, Csilla Mezösi, Irving Stackpole, Laszlo Puczko, Elizabeth Ziemba, Jeana Havidich, Michaela Kehrer, Ilan Geva, as well as Velimir Srića and Miroslav Varga. On this prestigious list of speakers is also Ph.D. Ivan Đikić, MD, who, from the position of his profession and his own experience, will cover the complex topic of the impact of the virus on health tourism. These experts are of great importance, not only for the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County but also for the entire Republic of Croatia. Moreover, these are experts who participate as speakers in numerous eminent world health and tourism conferences and cooperate with the largest companies in this field.

In addition to the presentations by top experts, the CIHT Conference offers the opportunity to create business contacts and partnerships, exchange experiences, and arrange concrete collaborations. The priority in the organization of the CIHT conference is, first of all, the quality of the content through which the participants can gain new knowledge that they will later apply in their daily work. This year's CIHT conference continues to contribute to the application of current theoretical knowledge and trends in practice, emphasizing the strategic importance of the development of health tourism. Given that we are in the period of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 8th CIHT Conference is especially needed.

You can follow everything about the 8th CIHT Conference on its official website, as well as on the Facebook profile CIHT Conference Crikvenica Croatia. Highlights of last year's event are in the video below.

For more on the Croatian medical tourism story, follow the dedicated TCN section

Saturday, 10 October 2020

EPIC Webinar 5: Judith Welsh (Cleveland), Rahul Kashyap (Mayo) on Patient Experience & COVID-19

October 9, 2020 - The EPIC Webinars continue, with Cleveland Clinic's Judith Welsh and Mayo Clinic's Rahul Kashyap next up, talking about the Patient Experience before and after COVID-19. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world and still does. Changes are happening in all fields. Situations change from moment to moment whether we are talking about health and patient care or something completely different. Uncertainty has become our reality and the pool in which we bathe every day. The inhabitants of the entire planet are adapting to the new living conditions that are being brought by epidemiologists’ day by day. Regardless of the current situation, a pandemic will change a patient’s experience in the years to come. In a time of reduced or, for some institutions even, banned personal visits, social distancing measures, wearing protective masks and without the current COVID-19 vaccine, doctors are using new digital tools to survive. The technology has enabled healthcare providers to continue connecting with patients through virtual advice. Patients have embraced the experience of virtual care, and global surveys now predict that virtual care interactions will exceed one billion in 2020. Digital patient engagement tools facilitate the growth of virtual medical examinations for non-coronavirus-related issues.

The Bagatin clinic, together with the international collaborating presenter Cleveland Clinic, will present this burning topic through the EPIC platform next week. On October 15th at 6pm CET you will have the opportunity to meet two fantastic speakers from two amazing world-famous clinics in USA. These are Judith Toski Welsh, MD, FACEP from the Cleveland Clinic and a doctor Rahul Kashyap, MBBS, MBA from Mayo Clinic.

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Judith Toski Welsh is the Associate Chief Experience Officer at Cleveland Clinic. She focuses on improving clinician communication and strengthening teamwork among caregivers to improve patient experience, quality and safety. She is also a practicing emergency physician who has worked in community and academic departments.

Rahul Kashyap is a physician scientist in Critical Care Medicine, and holds academic rank of Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology at the Mayo Clinic. He has published over 230 articles in prestigious peer-reviewed journals. He has also written a book titled ‘Mayo Clinic Critical Care Case Review’. Dr. Kashyap is an award-winning public speaker who has received awards for exemplary research, quality improvement and leadership.

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Along with this fantastic duo the webinar host will be Daniel C. Shaw, an enthusiastic storyteller with lots of practical ideas. Ambassador for GCR - Global Clinic Rating, an award-winning initiative co-founded by a Google employee that allows patients and healthcare professionals to compare apparent quality in nearly half a million private clinics and hospitals worldwide.

The goals of the webinar are certainly to gain insight into the lasting impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the patient experience and to set a strategy for an improved patient experience in 2021 and beyond.

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The Cleveland Clinic promises every patient that we will keep them safe, care for them as a person, partner with them, and make the care journey easier. These promises guide our process and policy and keep our patients at the center of everything that we do. The outbreak of COVID-19 forced many abrupt changes to the practice of medicine at Cleveland Clinic – from cessation of elective procedures, to changes in visitation, to development of surge capacity. The Office of Patient Experience supported the teams making these rapid changes by leveraging a combination of empathy, standardized communication, and technology to bridge the gaps made by COVID-19. In this presentation, I’ll discuss how we kept our promises and forged new paths to an even better experience.

Join this great webinar and sign up via the link.

For more on the Croatian medical tourism industry, follow the dedicated TCN link



Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Medical Tourism in the Corona Era: New Procedures at Bagatin Clinic

May 12, 2020 - Medical tourism in the corona age. Bagatin Clinic's inspirational CEO Ognjen Bagatin on how his award-winning clinic is serving its clients safely in the new reality. 

It seems an age since I was in Berlin in early December watching Ognjen Bagatin and Andrea Stipanic of Bagatin Clinic take the stage at the International Medical Travel Journal awards for Best International Cosmetic Surgery Clinic 2019.

Although it was less than six months ago, such a lot has happened since then that it really does seem iike a different era. 

But some things never change, and that includes Ognjen Bagatin's positivity and determination to succeed and offer his customers the very best. 

Bagatin Clinic opened its doors on May 4 after the recent lockdown, and Ognjen found time to explain how procedures will work at Bagatin Clinic for the moment, as well as this excellent video explanation. 

The safety and health of our clients and patients and all of our medical and non-medical staff, has always been our primary concern.

In addition to this priority, since January, our specially constituted Expert Committee has been closely monitoring the situation with the cornoravirus (COVID-19), communicating daily with the competent authorities of the Republic of Croatia and thoroughly following the instructions of the World Health Organization.

Transparency of information within the Clinic, additional education and, above all, the personal responsibility of our employees, has resulted in our readiness for all the challenges that have come before us, but also for those who are yet to come.

For security reasons, and following the recommendation of the competent authorities, we closed Bagatin Clinic for one month. It was a very difficult decision, but I know it was primarily the right decision.

And now, with the security measures being mitigated and with a very optimistic health situation in our beautiful Croatia, with a big smile on my face, I can announce the reopening of the Clinic.

On May 4th, our doors have reopened!

Of course, there is simply no room for relaxation in this fight against the invisible enemy. We still have to think first and foremost about your and our safety. Therefore, we have adopted new rules of business and laid down basic measures that we will follow in our daily work. And I invite all of you to be cooperative and responsible as well.

We continue to follow all the recommendations issued by the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Croatia, the Croatian Medical Chamber, the Croatian Chamber of Dental Medicine and the Croatian Institute of Public Health.

Allow me to present to you all the additional safety measures and hygiene protocols in Bagatin Clinic which have been implemented for the purpose of protecting all of us form the disease caused by the COVID-19.

  • While setting up and confirming appointments, our contact centre operators go through a set of questions with each client so that we can identify potential health and/or infection risks. These questions are related to trips to at-risk areas in the last 14 days, contacts with persons infected with COVID-19, whether they have been self-isolated or quarantined for the past 14 days, and whether they have had a fever or a respiratory problem in the last 14 days.
  • Prior to arrival, we inform the patient, by phone, of the protocols required to arrive at the Bagatin Clinic locations, and instruct clients / patients to come unaccompanied and with their own face mask.
  • At the entrance door of each of our locations, patients and clients are provided with information on preventative measures to protect against COVID-19.
  • At the entrance to the premises of the Clinic, a bactericidal and viricidal barrier is provided for the patient's footwear (a fabric soaked with disinfectant that changes every 3 hours).
  • Upon entrance, it is obligatory to disinfect hands with the provided disinfectant agents. The product is also available in all the toilets, encouraging patients and clients to disinfect their hands after each new contact with different surfaces.
  • We regularly and continuously keep our premises clean and disinfected, and pay special attention to the surfaces with which employees and clients are most often in contact: door handles, worktops, POS appliances, customer toilet, faucets, handrails, waiting areas.
  • In addition, sufficient time is provided between patient appointments to allow for additional disinfection and sterilization of the premises, and the movement of clients and healthcare staff across the Clinic's premises is minimized.
  • The extended pause between appointments also ensures a reduced fluctuation of clients and patients in the waiting room and allows for the social distancing rules to be followed, that is, close contact is avoided and the distance of at least 2 meters is maintained.
  • The reception area is separated by a Plexiglas barrier and the reception staff is additionally protected by disposable gloves and face masks.
  • Our health care professionals use all necessary protective equipment in their work and have received additional training in the proper use of personal protective equipment: FFP3 / N95 masks, disposable sterile or non-sterile gloves (depending on the type of procedure), transparent safety glasses or visors for personnel wearing prescription glasses, surgical cap and disposable coat.
  • After each client and patient, the utensils, appliances and instruments are thoroughly disinfected and sterilized or disposed of, and the rooms and offices are regularly ventilated.
  • Operating rooms and dental surgeries are equipped with UV lamps with ozone of adequate strength according to the quadrature of the space, which ensure disinfection and sterilization of the entire surface.

We will do everything in our power to ensure you a comfortable and safe stay at Bagatin Clinic with, of course, the first-rate service you are accustomed to. We are at your disposal for any questions, concerns, advice, even fears…

We invite you to be responsible toward yourself and others. Please be considerate of the new situation and respect the measures that are there to protect the health of all of us. We can only do this together!

The doors to your favourite beauty destinations in Zagreb and Split have been open since May 4th.

I look forward to seeing you!

Ognjen Bagatin

CEO of Bagatin Clinic

You can learn more about the services of Bagatin Clinic on the official website

For more on the Croatian medical tourism story, follow the dedicated TCN section

Thursday, 9 April 2020

Croatian Business Beyond Corona: Bagatin Clinic Online Consultations, Web Shop

April 9, 2020 -  With business reeling from the corona effect, meet Bagatin Clinic Online, embracing the reality by bringing forward its digital future plans. 

Here is a question for you as you sit in self-isolation reflecting on past memories and dreaming of a better future in the post-corona era. 

Who was the last person you shook hands with, and when was it?

In my case, it was exactly a month to the day since I shook hands with Ognjen Bagatin, the charismatic and dynamic CEO of Bagatin Clinic, whose single-minded determination to develop Croatia's medical tourism industry, foster the entrepreneurial spirit in Croatian society, and strengthen ties between Croatian entrepreneurs and the business community in the diaspora have infected everyone he meets with the same enthusiasm. 

It was that determination which saw one of the top names in healthcare, Cleveland Clinic, agree to partner with Bagatin at the inaugural European Patient Experience and Innovation Congress (EPIC) in Dubrovnik. Some of the biggest names in global health were due to appear in Kings Landing from March 19-21. 


Here we are in Berlin just four months ago, with Alfred Frankovic from the Kvarner Health Cluster (right), Ognjen, kolegica and legendica Andrea Stipanic, with this TCN correspondent, who had agreed to wear Bagatin's famous red and white Croatian tie to support the tiny nation which dared to dream. 

And dream it did, dreams which were realised. It was an honour to be there in the front row, as Ognjen and Andrea stepped up to the podium at the International Medical Travel Journal awards on behalf of Bagatin Clinic, winners of Best International Cosmetic Surgery Clinic 2019.  

Life was going very well, and everything built on a VERY solid foundation.

And then... corona. 

It must have been heartbreaking after all the effort (and cost) put in for the EPIC conference in Dubrovnik, for it to be cancelled. But that was in a different era, when we still thought conferences were possibly going to happen. I noted with some irony on the day the event was supposed to open that Dubrovnik got its first case of corona.

And then, 3 days later, having had to close the clinics with the new restrictions, another disaster - the Zagreb earthquakes

Some damage to the clinic, but more significantly, sufficient damage to his home that it was not safe for him to stay there with his adorable two young sons and wife. 

At that point, most people would have given up, but while he may have been temporarily dazed by the hammer blows, he did not take the easy option and downsize his team, but rather got into crisis management mode and restructured. Part of that restructuring was bringing forward some of his plans for Bagatin Clinic Online, most notably online consultations and a new webshop - details of both you can find below in the official media material from the clinic. 

Croatia needs more entrepreneurial fighters like Ognjen Bagatin and his merry men, and I sincerely hope that the government gives the private sector the support it needs to get back on its feet and move this country forward. 

Ognjen, I salute you, Sir, and may yours be the first hand that I shake when all this is over.

And now, learn more about Bagatin Clinic Online Consultations and webshop. 

The safety, enjoyment and health of you - our clients, our patients and all of our doctors and non-medical professionals - has always been our first concern.

Following on this top priority, with the many measures we have taken within Bagatin Clinic itself, we have also decided to go one step further and enable you to have online consultations with our team of experts from the comfort and safety of your home.

Telemedicine has been in our plans for a long time, and now, with the desire to do and help as much as we can, we have decided to offer this service for free until these extraordinary circumstances that have struck us have passed. We are here for you!

Free online consultations are available for the following services:

- dental consultations based on an X-ray

- tattoo removal consultations

- FUE hair transplantation consultations

- medical cosmetology consultations for facial and body treatments and laser hair removal

Whether you have a problem with your facial and body skin, you have questions about a specific treatment or problem, how to perform a particular treatment and procedure, are interested in a recovery period, are unable to find information on the Internet, or need help selecting a product in our webshop, book your appointment with our doctors and medical cosmetologists and get all the answers.

We also offer consultations for dermatological issues with our dermatologists, with a 50% discount, at a price of 200 kuna.

Easy to use

The method is very simple! Participation in online consultations is possible via a mobile device (Android, iOS/iPhone) or any personal computer that has a microphone and camera. So, by using a webcam or your phone's camera, you can see our doctor and he can see you in real time.

The first step for online consultations is to contact our call center, who will, in agreement with you, book a 30-minute appointment with your preferred doctor or medical cosmetologist. When ordering an online consultation, you will receive an appointment invitation on your e-mail address that contains details of the date and time of the appointment, as well as a link to the so-called virtual room. By clicking on the link the necessary, free, app will automatically install, and you can begin your consultations with our doctors or medical cosmetologists.

In each virtual room, it's just you and our doctor or medical cosmetologist, and all communication is encrypted, so you don't have to worry about your safety and privacy. 

The popularity of telemedicine

Telemedicine is a blend of technology and medicine that involves the use of electronic communications and software to provide healthcare services to patients without their personal visit to healthcare facilities. It allows us to diagnose, treat and control patients remotely, but also provides the option of answering specific health questions and educating and advising our patients. It is an indispensable link in the development of a quality medical system based on new technologies and digitization.

Telemedicine, or online consultations, is a tool that represents the future of healthcare because it enables doctors to connect with their patients via telephone, email or specially designed software solutions, and with their personal interaction and individual approach, give expert opinion on particular health issues.

Advantages of online consultation

The use of telemedicine has many benefits for patients as healthcare users:

- avoiding unnecessary exposure to others

- practicality

- shorter waiting time for consultations

- availability of quality medical diagnostics and treatment

- privacy and confidentiality

- minimizing the cost of time

- better patient experience and satisfaction

- better treatment outcomes



To ensure an adequate care for all our clients and patients, we have launched Bagatin Medical Beauty - a webshop that offers dermatological cosmetics and make-up products trusted by our experts.

As of last month, a number of exclusive dermocosmetics products are available on the website, which will, in addition to purchasing, be equipped with useful tips and services, all for the sake of your health and the beauty of your skin.

The best brands of dermocosmetics

A wide range of products on the Bagatin Medical Beauty webshop is made up of only the best brands of dermocosmetics and make-up, not available in drugstores or perfumeries. The specialty of such products lies in the fact that their ingredients, besides nourishing the skin, solve and reduce various problems - acne, rosacea, skin dehydration, pigmental changes and slow down aging.

Ognjen Bagatin, the CEO of Bagatin Clinic, said: The idea of opening a webshop was influenced by our clients and patients. As in addition to treatments, we always advise care that they can use at home. Therefore, we have decided to select professional products that are more difficult to access in the market and offer to our existing, but also new clients the products to which we are both privately and professionally loyal to.

In addition to products not widely available, the Bagatin Medical Beauty webshop features a modern design, good user experience and a simple interface.

Advice from experts

Proper care means knowing your skin and then choosing the right care. Webshop clients can be assured of a good product selection with the expert advice of our operators available via telephone and web chat, and there’s also a special benefit they can expect - VISIA professional skin analysis at especially affordable prices at our Clinic.

Useful tips from our doctors and cosmetologists are also available in the form of blogs, videos of routines and proper use of products and makeup application - all to make sure you find exactly what your skin needs.

Simple purchasing

Although very simple, Webshop Bagatin Medical Beauty is not only a sales catalog of products, but a complete interface with the choice of what you need, that is, the continuation of the service we provide at the Clinic.

An overview of the products, organized by different care categorories, will give you information about the product, ingredients and usage, and the purchase itself takes place in just a few clicks.

The benefits of shopping at the Bagatin Medical Beauty webshop are the simplicity, speed, availability of all information, and the guaranteed quality in excellent packaging. In a short period, your favorite product will be available at your home address.

Our brands

Sales begin with brands that we have been working with for years and that we trust, but we will not stop at them - new brands will gradually be introduced into our offer, whose quality has been proven with a longstanding tradition.

The represented segments currently relate to dermocosmetics with an emphasis on Reviderm and Mesoestetic products and the Reviderm Skin Jewels make up line, and over time the range will expand to other beauty and lifestyle segments.

All product news will be available on our social networks, and all those who subscribe to the newsletter will have the opportunity to be the first to read new information and get additional benefits.


The REVIDERM dermocosmetics line is well known to all clients of Bagatin Clinic. These are high quality products that are somewhere between medical products and cosmetics. In addition to nourishing, they successfully improve the condition of the skin and address existing deficiencies.

Reviderm Skin Jewels

In addition to REVIDERM dermocosmetics, you can also find Reviderm's make up line called Skin Jewels on our Webshop. Products can also be used by people with problematic and sensitive skin, and the special advantage is that it can be used after facial treatments.


A global leader in the cosmetic and aesthetic medicine sector, Mesoestetic has gained a number of loyal clients throughout their long tradition. Find the well-known Mesoestetic chemical peels in our offer, that have been awarded the excellence category for years by thousands of people around the world.

The accelerated pace of today's life also offers certain benefits - the convenience of buying from the comfort of your own home via a cell phone or computer has never been greater.

Visit our webshop and enjoy your shopping today!



Friday, 6 March 2020

EPIC 2020 in Dubrovnik Postponed as Bagatin, Cleveland Clinic Choose Caution

Dubrovnik, Croatia, March 5, 2020 - EPIC 2020. Europe's first patient experience and innovation congress has been postponed as a precaution due to the coronavirus. 

It was - and will be - one of the best health tourism conferences on the calendar, with an A-list set of speakers due to appear in Dubrovnik from the very top of the healthcare industry. Collaborative international presenter Cleveland Clinic, one of the biggest names in healthcare, had no less than 5 speakers heading to Croatia, Mayo Clinic had three, with other speakers including senior representatives from the Disney Institute, Cisco and the editor of International Medical Travel Journal. 

It is a conference which will take place, but now at a later date than the planned March 19-21 gathering, after organisers Bagatin Clinic and Cleveland Clinic made the difficult but sensible decision not to attend due to the current coronavirus situation. The organisers have sensibly decided that the health and well-being of their delegates, sponsors, speakers and attendees is their first priority, and they would prefer to wait for a later date when everyone can travel safely and confidently, without any challenges or risks.

Ognjen Bagatin, CEO of Bagatin Clinic, announced the decision on his social media:

Given the current world situation regarding the coronavirus epidemic, the 1st EPIC - European Patient experience & Innovation Congress, scheduled to take place in Dubrovnik March 19-21, coorganized by the GCR - Global Clinic Rating, Irving Stackpole, Poliklinika Bagatin and our collaborative international presenters from Cleveland Clinic is being postponed to a later date.

I'm very sad to announce this, but the health and well-being of our partners, sponsors and speakers are our priority and we would rather wait for a later date, when we can all travel peacefully, safely and without any fears or worries ?

I would like to thank the whole EPIC team, all the health professionals, our speakers and collaborators for their hard work and effort over the last few months – I am sure it will all pay off, just with a little delay!
This is just a small obstacle in our way, from which I am sure we will emerge stronger and that in the very near future, the first EPIC - European Patient Experience & Innovation Congress, will be a great success.

The coronavirus has appeared in Croatia, eleven cases in all (all of which are mild), but they are away from the main tourist hot spots such as Dubrovnik, Split, Rovinj and the islands. 

The decision to stage EPIC 2020 in Dubrovnik was the latest statement from the Croatian medical tourism industry of its rising visibility on the international market. Many industry experts agree that Croatia has the potential to be among the top ten medical tourism providers in the world within ten years, and EPIC 2020 is one of the first major medical tourism conferences to bring the industry's finest minds to learn more about Croatia's potential. 

EPIC 2020 is organised by Bagatin Clinic, with collaborative international partner, Cleveland Clinic. The unlikely partnership of such a global name and a small Croatian clinic which only started operations in one room 12 years ago is testament to the determination and quality of Bagatin's team - the clinic was voted Best International Cosmetic Surgery Clinic 2019 at the annual International Medical Travel Journal awards in Berlin last December. 

For more information about EPIC 2020, including updates on the rescheduled date, visit the official website.

For the latest in the Croatian medical tourism story, follow the dedicated TCN section

Thursday, 6 February 2020

Zagreb, the New Affordable Medical Tourism Hot Spot and Holiday Experience

February 6, 2020 - The Zagreb medical tourism story is gathering pace, with a surprising amount of world-class healthcare options to choose from, and savings to more than pay for the flight and holiday.

What is the best tourism promotion story you know about Croatia?

Is it an unforgettable holiday on an idyllic island? A fortnight on that perfect beach, or a tour into the wondrous and often undiscovered world of Croatian history and heritage?

Having followed Croatian tourism for almost a decade, I can think of no better promotion story about Croatian tourism than the one about the American who came to Zagreb in December to fix his teeth.

Yes, that's right, an American flying halfway across the world in the dead of winter, to a Croatian city far from the coast, to visit a dentist.

 zagreb-medical-tourism (1).PNG

Carl's teeth were so bad that they had long ago affected his personality, turning into a shy and retiring 40-year-old totally lacking in confidence. His basic health insurance meant that a proper fix was unaffordable, and it was only a matter of time before he would lose his teeth altogether.

To cut a long story short - but I really do encourage you to read the original version and enjoy some great photography as well - a friend stepped in to transform his mouth, as well as his life, by sourcing, crowdfunding and accompanying Carl on his first trip outside the United States, to a city in Europe whose high-quality and affordable private dental care has transformed Carl's life and personality.

An unforgettable 19-day trip from the US to Zagreb via Sweden coincided with the internationally acclaimed Advent in Zagreb, which offered Carl and his companion an outstanding tourism experience in a safe European city with excellent English spoken. And with savings of some US$35,000 on the cost of similar treatment back home, even after all the travel costs were factored in, this was truly the trip of a lifetime.

Zagreb, a top medical tourism destination.


Yes, really, and it appears that dental services are a small part of the quality on offer. Back in 2018, no less than THREE Zagreb clinics were named in the best 6 English-speaking dermatology clinics in all Europe. 

At the recent International Medical Travel Journal Awards in Berlin, a Zagreb clinic was voted International Cosmetic Surgery Clinic 2019 by 20 independent expert judges. Zagreb's outstanding eye surgery expertise has attracted the likes of actor Tim Roth and Ivana Trump, the ex-wife of the current US President. A Leading Hospital of the World in Zagreb was the first location in all Europe to offer the revolutionary new pharmacogenetic test, which was co-developed by Mayo Clinic.

Ground-breaking stem cell research and services, oncology, orthopaedics, cardiology – the list of top-quality Zagreb medical services available goes on, and you can find out more about the clinics and hospitals offering them here, as well as an overview of the Zagreb health tourism scene in the video below:


While the savings are rarely as spectacular as in Carl's case, above, price is one factor in the mix that makes Zagreb such an attractive medical tourism proposition. Prices for services are typically at least 25% cheaper than in Western Europe, often much more than that. With the high cost of dental care in the UK, for example, dental treatment in Zagreb often works out cheaper than back home, including flights, and you get a free holiday in addition to that smile. How cool is that!

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And tourism is one of the many, many additional reasons why Zagreb is such an attractive destination for health tourism. While the surgery may be the main reason for travel, the chance to have a great experience and place to relax and recuperate is incredibly important as well. And there are few places to beat Croatian in that regard, a country which last year welcomed more than 20 million tourists, and whose diverse tourism offer ranges from the stunning Adriatic coast and UNESCO heritage, to breathtaking continental Croatia and a diverse food and wine regional offer that rivals the very best gourmet experiences in Europe. Where else in Europe can you undergo surgery in the morning and be on an idyllic Adriatic island to recover in the afternoon.

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An important factor in Zagreb's health tourism offer is the availability of wellness and spa services, which are abundant and affordable. Croatia actually boasts the oldest organised tourism in Europe, with the founding on the Hvar Health Society back in 1868, as the temperate climate of Croatia's premier island attracted the sick and infirm Austro-Hungarian aristocracy to 'the Austrian Madeira' to recuperate. And while a combination of Zagreb surgery and coastal recuperation is appealing, there are also many other options much closer to home, with several spa resorts in the region within an hour's drive from the capital.

But why leave Zagreb at all! Here is a vibrant European capital which is quickly developing into one of the must-sees of Central Europe, so much so that Lonely Planet recently named it the best destination in Europe. A year-round tourist city these days, as Carl found out during his December stay and Advent in Zagreb.

zagreb-medical-tourism (6).PNG

There are, of course, many other considerations to think about when looking at medical procedures abroad. Affordability of care is a significant one, and Zagreb is competitive on that score. But so too is the affordability of the destination if one is to stay for a longer time to recuperate, or even to enjoy a holiday. Here, too, Zagreb fares well.

Accessibility is another key factor, and the new 330-million-euro terminal at Zagreb Airport has raised the city's profile, as well as now hosting flights from literally all over the world through the networks of global players such as Qatar Airways, Emirates and Turkish Airlines. Bus, rail and road connections are excellent for those planning to visit by land.

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English is widely spoken (Croatia was recently named the second-best English-speaking country in Central and Eastern Europe, and German is also spoken by many. Croatia is one of the safest countries in Europe, and many visitors comment on how safe it is to walk the streets of Zagreb, even at night.

So the next time you need to get some medical treatment, why not treat yourself to a holiday into the bargain. You may find it cheaper, you will certainly find it more exciting, and who knows – perhaps Zagreb will also provide you with a life-changing experience such as Carl's..

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To follow the latest in the Croatian medical tourism story, check out the dedicated TCN section

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