Tuesday, 28 June 2022

Rudjer Boskovic Institute Coordinates AI Programme for Healthcare

June the 28th, 2022 - The Rudjer Boskovic Institute is no stranger to European and international praise and rounds of applause, and with its latest project, there could be a real turnaround on the cards in terms of healthcare provision.

Croatia has been given the opportunity to be a European driver of digital change in healthcare, and the project of the public-private consortium AI4Health "Artificial Intelligence for Smart Health and Medicine" was excellently evaluated by the European Commission (EC) within the Digital Europe programme.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Josipa Ban writes, this means that the project, whose holder and coordinator is the Rudjer Boskovic Institute, along with the help of fifteen other partners, should become the Croatian EDIH (European Digital Innovation Hub).

The signing of the contract with the EC is expected in the third quarter, and it will provide the consortium with a sum of three million euros over the next three years. During that period, says Anja Baresic, the coordinator for partners from the Rudjer Boskovic Institute, Croatia has the opportunity to position itself among the leaders in the transformation of European health systems with the help of artificial intelligence (AI).

"Our goal is for at least part of the innovation based on artificial intelligence to come to life within the scope of Croatian healthcare, from which patients, healthcare professionals and innovators will benefit the most," Baresic pointed out.

Four types of service

As she explained, although this country does have a decent number of innovators and startups in the field of healthcare, their AI solutions find it difficult to find their way to the healthcare system itself and really enter into practical application for several reasons. A common challenge is that they have nowhere to test these innovations in the development phase, and there is a real vagueness in terms of legislation regarding the entry of AI solutions into the market, especially in the healthcare sector where the risks are high. That should finally change thanks to this Rudjer Boskovic Institute project.

“In the hub for the application of artificial intelligence in healthcare that we're going to establish, we'll provide four types of services; pre-investment testing, assistance in accessing funding sources, improving skills and knowledge and networking ecosystems,'' explained Baresic. All this will be possible because the consortium consists of actors from all sectors necessary for AI to come to life in practice - science, medicine, industry and the public sector.

According to Nina Sesto, the assistant director of the Magdalena Clinic and the project coordinator for health, this will be the key to the digitalisation of the Croatian healthcare system.

"The biggest shifts occur when different worlds grow closer, that is, when everyone comes and sits at the same table, jointly defines obstacles and also tries to find solutions," she said.

The assistant director of the Clinic, which has had a telecardiology centre for more than twenty years now and monitors patients remotely, says there are some huge obstacles to significant digitalisation and application of AI not only here in Croatia, but all over the world.

“New technologies and tools need to gain the trust of the clinicians who need to use these new digital tools in treating their patients. Maximum transparency and a clear legal framework are needed,'' she stated, adding that Magdalena is also working on developing their own innovation.

In the middle of the global coronavirus pandemic, they launched an impressive virtual clinic, and by the end of the year, the digital assistant Megi, intended for chronic cardiovascular patients, should come to life. In the initial development of Megi, the startup Mindsmiths, the founder of which is Mislav Malenica, who is also the president of CroAI, an association that has been part of the AI4Health consortium from the beginning and which gave Andrija to the Croatian healthcare system in the middle of the pandemic, also participated.

Malenica predicts a bright future for this Rudjer Boskovic Institute project on the basis of which Croatia could become part of the digital revolution. He noted the healthcare sector was not randomly selected.

“When AI started to develop we thought it would contribute to greater equality across all segments of life and in our society, but it ended up making some even bigger differences. We gathered together a team of experts from various fields and realised that healthcare is a sector that lacks digital innovations and that we can be the first to implement something in this area,'' Malenica recalled.

He added that the problems in different healthcare systes around the world are a reality and that there is an obvious need for solutions. Hospital systems are becoming increasingly congested, and this is putting pressure on both staff and hospital costs, not to mention patient waiting times which may well be critical.

The solutions provided by AI, according to Deloitte research, can save about 400,000 lives a year, save about two million man-hours and about 200 billion euros a year.

For more, make sure to check out Made in Croatia.

Tuesday, 26 April 2022

Pandemic Accelerates Digital Transformation in Croatia

ZAGREB, 26 April 2022 - The pandemic has accelerated Croatia's digital transformation and the situation in the economy in 2021 improved in that regard, with an average score of 2.59, a mild increase compared to 2020, when the average score was 2.52, the latest survey of the Croatian Digital Index (HDI) indicates.

This is the third year in a row that the survey has been conducted by the local Apsolon consulting company, which says that the HDI index gauges Croatia's digital transformation progress.

"The Croatian Digital Index (HDI) has once again this year shown that Croatian companies are recognising the importance of digital transformation more and more. However, the overall score is still unsatisfactory despite the positive trend, and the growth rate is slow and there is significant room for progress in the years to come," Aposolon said, adding that the survey included 273 Croatian companies, 56 of which were large and 217 were medium-sized companies.

The HDI analyses the preparedness of Croatia's economy to face the challenges in light of exceptionally fast growth and development of new digital technology, which significantly changes traditional business organisation. The survey is aimed at preparing proposals, recommendations and guidelines to expand digital capacities in Croatian companies and the economy overall.

Better score for availability of e-services 

The survey showed a somewhat better than average score of 2.78 related to the availability of e-services, which also improved slightly from the score of 2.73 in 2020.

The survey further showed that 24.2% of companies have developed a digital transformation strategy while in 2020 only 17.7% did. The majority of companies said that digital transformation did not affect the number of people employed in their companies.

Half of them expect digital transformation to have a positive effect on their revenue. However, only 3.7% consider it to be their main priority while 31.5% consider it to be one of their three main priorities.

More than 75% of respondents said that they do not have a structured path toward digitisation, 62% allocate less than 25% for staff training and development of digital skills while 51% use outsourcing.

The government and companies need to do more

The survey further showed that 92.3% of companies view digital transformation as an opportunity for their own development. However, Apsolon believes that Croatia needs to achieve better results in this area in order to improve its competitiveness and for it not to lag behind other EU member states.

Croatia has never achieved an above-average result for the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) conducted by the European Commission.

In 2021 Croatia ranked 19th of the 27 EU member states with regard to the DESI index, moving up one place from 2020.

Apsolon believes the government needs to set the foundations for Croatia's digital future which will then positively impact business and facilitate more efficient communication with the government for citizens and companies.

For more, make sure to check out our business section.

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Digital Laboratory Opened at National and University Library

January 21, 2020 - The National and University Library in Zagreb is often found in the news these days: in addition to it being the headquarters of the Croatian EU Presidency, today a new Digital Laboratory was opened there.

The idea is for it to be the centre of the digital revolution in the Croatian libraries, and during the opening ceremony, a new mobile application called Smart Library was presented, which serves as a smart guide through the library area.

The Digital Laboratory is located in a part of the library dedicated exclusively to it, and it was originally founded in 2019 to help citizens find the creative use of the digital technologies and digital content of the library. Tatijana Petrić, the Director-General of the Library said that they've been working on the projects of digitalisation for a while and that the establishment of the Digital Laboratory is just another of the steps towards further opening of the Library to the needs of the modern user.

The libraries remain the important cell of the development of the modern society of the 21st century if they manage to bridge the digital void. This project is based on the numerous examples of the library laboratories from Europe and the world, including the Library of Congress in Washington, British National Library, Harvard University Library and many others. Petrić highlighted the experiences of the first Digital Laboratory in Croatia, founded by the Rijeka Library, tportal writes.

Dragana Koljenik, the manager of the Digital Laboratory said that its opening is the culmination of the enthusiasm of mostly young people who work at the Library, who invested their skill, energy and time into the idea for a year. Koljenik added that they wanted to develop in various directions while showing that their capital is different than what can be bought and sold on the market, but equally important in a balanced society. The Laboratory operates on three basic levels: as a service, educational and developmental. That means that it offers services such as 3D printing to its users, education, workshops and lectures, using the computer equipment to study or create something.

The Smart Library project is the mobile application for the library's users, which serves as a prototype of the application of the IoT technologies within a library. The idea of the project is to create the basis for the development of a smart library. The application contextualises the 36.5 thousand square meters of space within the Library and makes sense connecting the 22 locations with 22 services offered to their users.

Friday, 29 March 2019

How Many Croatian Companies Are Working on Digital Transformation?

Just how many Croatian companies are seriously working on the deeply desired digital transformation that Croatia so desperately needs? Not that many, at least for now...

As Bernard Ivezic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 27th of March, 2019, in the Republic of Croatia, fifteen to twenty percent of Croatian companies are seriously working on the much talked about digital transformation, stated regional director Marin Tadić at the opening of Oracle Technology Day, the annual conference of the IT company which bears the same name.

He added that Oracle estimates that global spending on digital transformation will grow by fifteen percent.

"By the year 2021, in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, there will be an investment of 421 billion dollars in the digital transformation of the public and private sectors, and this is a great opportunity for growth," stated Tadić.

The dominant carrier of [digital] transformation will be the cloud. It will, as he emphasised, deliver on all the technologies we're talking about today such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, the internet, and vocal/speech and other types of technologies.

He added that Oracle already offers its own solutions in the cloud. In addition to that are the use of artificial intelligence and blockchain, for which there's a potential seen in data forensics, securities and even in green energy. By 2025, he expects all applications to be autonomous and enriched with artificial intelligence. He also argued that the emergence of new telecom solutions makes it all the more profitable, while a revolution is expected in the use of voice technologies.

"In Croatia, the work of computers turning speech into text is already working well, and its only a matter of time for when translation from text to speech happens, and then we'll see the evolution of omnichannel," concluded Tadić.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page to learn more about Croatia's digital transformation and much more.


Click here for the original article by Bernard Ivezic for Poslovni Dnevnik