Thursday, 4 May 2023

We Too Are Healthcare: Protest of Cro Nurses and Other Hospital Staff

May 4, 2023 - Under the motto "We too are healthcare," nurses, technicians, and non-medical staff held peaceful protests in front of four hospitals in Zagreb, Split, and Dubrovnik on Wednesday, demanding decent wages for their work and improvement of their labor and legal status.

As 24Sata writes, these half-hour protests were held in Zagreb - in front of the Merkur and Dubrava clinical hospitals, in Split in front of the KBC, and in Dubrovnik in front of the general hospital there.

The protests were organized by the Croatian Professional Union of Nurses and Technicians and the Independent Union of Health and Social Care Employees. Croatian medical staff, as well as non-medical staff working in healthcare institutions, are dissatisfied that their membership did not receive a ten percent increase in coefficients according to the government decree last week, which Croatian doctors did receive when they went on strike recently. The increase for other medical and non-medical staff was between 3 and 5.4 percent.

This time, unions have announced a series of mini-protests starting Wednesday, May 3. They will protest every day from 11 to 11:30 a.m., during the daily break, in front of various hospitals throughout Croatia.

The protests will be held until May 12, when, on the International Day of Nursing, a large, central protest has been announced in Zagreb.

Maids, cooks, laundry workers, and other non-medical staff in the healthcare system will join the nurses and technicians in protest activities. They are also demanding an increase in salary coefficients by a minimum of ten percent and an improvement in the labor and legal status.

The president of the Independent Trade Union, Stjepan Topolnjak, also said that there is a principled determination of the trade union to strike if the Government and the relevant ministry keep ignoring their demands.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated News section.

Wednesday, 5 April 2023

How to Croatia - Using a Foreign EHIC to Access Public Croatian Healthcare

April the 5th, 2023 - If you're the citizen of an EU country or a legal resident of an EU country covered by their public healthcare system, you'll own a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). You can use this card to access certain types of free Croatian healthcare in some cases. Here's how to use it, and what it covers.

First things first, an EHIC is intended for temporary stays in other EU countries, and is (in most cases) for emergency healthcare/unplanned use only. 

What does that mean?

You've eaten some oysters and now all of a sudden you can't stop, erm... paying a ''visit to the bathroom''. You've decided to try to climb up Biokovo in flipflops and upon falling, your ankle has altered its shape and somehow doesn't support your weight anymore. You went for a relaxing swim in the idyllic Adriatic and stepped on a sea urchin. You get the picture. 

If you come unstuck in some way, injured or unwell and you need medical help, you can use your EHIC to access public Croatian healthcare, at very little cost to yourself. Here's how to navigate that:

Finding a doctor

You'll need to find a doctor who has a contract with HZZO (the Croatian Health Insurance Fund) in order to be treated for whatever your problem is, which clearly is not clearing up on its own but doesn't necessarily require hospitalisation. A doctor with a contract with HZZO will treat you upon the presentation of your EHIC, and you'll often be required to pay a symbolic fee in the form of a copay of just under 1.50 euros (that is one euro, fifty cents) which is 10 kuna.

Medical emergencies

Ambulance transportation to hospital in the case of an emergency is covered by your EHIC/HZZO.


You will be treated in any Croatian hospital which has a contract with HZZO. These are typically state hospitals. In some cases, hospital treatment is not entirely free through the use of an EHIC, and you'll need to pay a copay for each day of your hospital stay, this copay is usually around 13-14 euros per day (approximately 100 kuna). The good news is that patient fees are capped at just over 260 euros (2000 kuna). You will need a referral from a GP (called uputnica in Croatian) to access hospital/specialist treatment.


Unlike in some European countries which have socialised healthcare, and the United Kingdom is a good example of this being totally different -- dentists in Croatia who have contracts with HZZO will also treat patients for free or for small copays. This is also true for foreign EHIC holders. You'll be able to be treated under Croatian healthcare by a dentist who has a contract with HZZO, and you'll just pay the same approximate 1.50 (10 kuna) copay for your treatment.


If you need to be prescribed medication, as perhaps it has been determined you have some sort of bacterial infection and as such require a course of antibiotics, you'll need a prescription from a GP through a pharmacy which has a contract with HZZO. Much like in the case with primary care doctors and dentists, you'll need to pay the symbolic 1.50 (10 kuna) copay per prescription issued.


Croatian citizens and Croatian residents who have HZZO still need to pay copays for their treatment in the vast majority of cases, you're not being singled out for being a foreigner. 

The Croatian Health Insurance Fund (HZZO) shouldn't be your point of contact for reimbursement. You need to contact your public health insurer (which issued you your EHIC) back home for any cost reimbursements. 

If healthcare in your country is completely free at the point of use, that doesn't mean it will be in Croatia, hence the previously mentioned very small copayments. It isn't entirely free at the point of use for Croatian citizens/residents with HZZO, so it won't be for a foreign EHIC holder either.

In the case of the chronically ill

If you're undergoing treatment for cancer such as chemotherapy, or you require oxygen therapy or dialysis, you can obtain all of this while in Croatia through your EHIC. You should bring all of the documentation and records of what treatment you need, why, and how much with you, and you should make an appointment with someone who will be responsible for your care in Croatia before arriving. 

You are treated differently to those who simply need to use their EHIC to access emergency treatment for cuts, scrapes or a case of the runs. You will be able to access lifesaving treatment here, regardless of your health issues existing prior to your arrival.

Here is an extensive list of hospitals and doctors which have a contract with HZZO and as such provide treatment to EHIC holders on the same basis as they would Croatian nationals/residents who have HZZO insurance.

For a detailed guide to navigating Croatian health insurance if you are moving to or already live in Croatia, make sure to check out this article.

Monday, 3 April 2023

Significant Number of People to Lose Croatian Health Insurance

April the 3rd, 2023 - A considerable number of individuals, 300,000 of them to be more precise, could end up losing their Croatian health insurance as a new law is now in force.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, a new law will fully enable the Croatian Health Insurance Fund (Croatian: HZZO) to ''clean up'' the records it holds of insured persons from so-called "fictitious" insured persons. Many such people with ''fictitious'' insurance have now left Croatia, got a job abroad and actually no longer have the right to access public Croatian health insurance. According to estimates by the health administration, that figure could total around 300,000 insured persons, writes Novi list.

Amendments to the Law on Compulsory Health Insurance have now entered into force, which prescribe the obligation for insured persons to report to their local HZZO office in person if they have reached the age of eighteen, terminated their employment, or served military service or a prison sentence. In the case of an application to the employment office, such reporting to HZZO offices is not necessary.

The obligation to report in person to HZZO in order to check the circumstances on the basis of which their Croatian health insurance status was determined (if they aren't registered in the records of unemployed persons of the Croatian Employment Service) is prescribed by new legal provisions for everyone after the age of eighteen, after the end of the school year in which they finished their mandatory education or after passing their final exam, or after the termination of an employment relationship.

According to the new law, all those who have just served military service and prisoners (after having been released from an institution for the execution of criminal and misdemeanor sanctions), as well as from a health or other specialised institution, such as a secure psychiatric hospital, must also report to HZZO.

The aforementioned categories of insured persons must report in person to the nearest HZZO office within 90 days from the date of entry into force of the Act, i.e. no later than June the 29th, 2023. If they don't want to remain without any Croatian health insurance, they will still have the obligation to come to HZZO in person once every three months, except for the times during which their names can be found in the records of unemployed persons at the Croatian Employment Service.

Those who do not fulfill their obligation within the prescribed period, i.e. by the end of June this year, and after that once every three months, will simply be deregistered from compulsory Croatian health insurance ex officio, without issuing any kind of special decision.

According to the new legal provisions, insured persons who have registered a temporary departure outside of Croatia can retain their Croatian health insurance until the end of June at the latest, and HZZO will deregister them from compulsory health insurance ex officio at the end of that period, and as stated above, they'll do so without issuing a decision.

These are mainly emigrants who have now left Croatia and gone to work abroad in the last decade, and yet they have remained on the list of insured persons at HZZO and occasionally use healthcare services when in Croatia. At the beginning of 2022, a comparison of the number of inhabitants in the last population census and the number of people who hold Croatian health insurance showed that there are 200,000 more people insured through HZZO compared to the total number of inhabitants in Croatia.

For more, check out our dedicated news section.

Friday, 31 March 2023

KBC Rijeka First in Croatia to Implant Boy with Cardioverter-Defibrillator

March 31, 2023 - A team of cardiologists, electrophysiologists from the Clinic for Diseases of the Heart and Blood Vessels and the Pediatric Clinic of KBC Rijeka successfully implanted a subcutaneous cardioverter-defibrillator, a device with an electrode, in a boy on March 23.

At KBC Rijeka, for the first time in Croatia, a subcutaneous ICD - a device for delivering electric shocks in case of cardiac arrest - was implanted in a child patient, KBC Rijeka reported at a press conference on Thursday, writes 24Sata.

Sandro Brusich, an interventional cardiologist at the Clinic for Heart and Blood Vessel Diseases, stated that classic cardioverter-defibrillators are introduced through blood vessels to the heart, where they are fixed. However, such electrodes in the form of wire in young and active people can break and lose their function over time, so an operative replacement is required, a very risky procedure. With the new technology, the electrode is placed on the chest under the skin, and the device itself is placed under the armpit, he said.

This procedure is somewhat more complex than the previous one, but it can become routine, said Brusich.

He added that this method was used for the first time in Croatia last year and has since been used on several people, and in Rijeka, it was used on a child for the first time.

Ovuka: It is important to educate yourself about the basics of resuscitation techniques

Aleksandar Ovuka, an interventional cardiologist at the Pediatric Clinic, said that sudden cardiac deaths due to cardiac arrhythmias are most dangerous in children up to the age of two and then in adolescents. Sixty percent of children with fatal arrhythmia never had previous signs such as fainting or chest pain, which would indicate the need for intervention, he said.

Ovuka and another interventional cardiologist at the Pediatric Clinic, Neven Čače, particularly emphasized the importance of resuscitating a person who has suffered a cardiac arrest as quickly as possible. It is good to educate yourself about the basics of resuscitation techniques in order to act until the emergency medical services arrive, but any resuscitation is better than none, Čače emphasized.

"If a cardiac arrest occurs, it is necessary to call emergency medical aid and immediately start resuscitation, primarily by heart massage, because the interruption of circulation in the brain for longer than three to five minutes leads to irreversible brain damage."

This method of implanting a subcutaneous device is still rarely used in Croatia, and the reason is the high price of this technology. A classic transvenous cardioverter-defibrillator costs around 4,500 euros, and a subcutaneous one costs 30,000 euros, it was pointed out.

The father of the young patient also spoke at the press conference, emphasizing the extraordinary knowledge and commitment of the doctors and nurses in saving the child's life. He kept his composure and, at the crucial moment, began to resuscitate his son, who had a cardiac arrest at home.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated News section.

Wednesday, 29 March 2023

Croatian Doctors Are Going on a Strike After Zagreb Protest

March 29, 2023 - Croatian doctors have announced a strike. Mirjana Livojevic, a doctor from the hospital in Sisak, recalls the last doctors' strike. It was ten years ago when she started working on her own. In ten years, she concludes, some things have remained the same, some have changed for the better, but some still have not. She said the strike could not wait, called Plenkovic out, and listed four demands the doctors would not give up on.

Index reports the conversation from RTL Direkt.

So you've definitely decided that a strike is the next step?

"Yes, I must say that we are certainly going on strike; we have not agreed on the exact date and form in detail," she said.

Is it a unique decision of all associations?

"It is a unique decision of all five umbrella associations in healthcare and all members at the meeting," she stated.

When is the earliest date?

"We cannot give exact dates because that decision will be made by the assembly of the Croatian Medical Union; they have the only right to do so. The assembly was previously scheduled for May 13, but that date is quite far away, so it is likely that an extraordinary assembly will be convened, which will then arrange a date," the doctor said.

"We will not wait for a decision on the strike," she added.

What is the legal procedure, a strike in the healthcare system must take place so that patients' health is not endangered in any way, right?

"That's right; our profession is very specific. For us, the patient always was and always will be in the first place. We will find a way to fight for our rights so that no one is endangered," she stated.

Doctors went on strike ten years ago during the SDP government, and they were introduced a work obligation, do you fear this will happen now?

"That was when I just started working. I remember that strike and the introduction of work obligations. Ten years have passed, things have changed a lot, some for the better, some for the worse, and some have remained the same, and that's one big reason why we are forced to go on strike. We were not heard," she said.

You held a protest ten days ago. Have you met with Minister Beros since then?

"Absolutely no one from the Ministry contacted us. We asked both before the protest and during for a meeting with the government. We were ignored by the Prime Minister and all government members, including Beros, who is in charge of the department and who should be the most interested," she said.

"I saw somewhere that Plenkovic and Beros met and that the prime minister authorized him to continue the talks," she claimed.

Are you calling on Plenkovic to solve the problem?

"We have been calling on him since the protest," she said.

No effect?

"It's not very nice to ignore people. On the one hand, they ignore you; on the other hand, they say they're open," she believes.

What would have to happen to call off the strike?

"The demands that are clear and simple should be met. The four demands that we have been repeating since September," the doctor said.


"We are not giving up on the four demands. Perhaps we can compromise within each, but none will be given up," she said.


"If it comes to that, and it will, after the formal announcement of the strike, there is a period called the conciliation process where the ministry will have the opportunity to express their ideas, where the unions will express theirs, then we can talk and agree on a compromise. We have days to resolve it, which is the period to resolve the situation so there is no strike. It depends on what they are ready to do, not to promise or establish a working group, but to do it," she concluded.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated News section.

Monday, 6 February 2023

Alarming State of Croatian Healthcare - Young Doctors Don't Bother Staying

February 6, 2023 - Croatian healthcare has reached an alarming state. The country currently lacks up to 230 family doctors and around 170 primary pediatricians, gynecologists and speech therapists, Social Democrat member of parliament Romana Nikolić estimated on Monday. Over 180 doctors are over 65 years old and work only out of pure enthusiasm because they have no one to leave their patients to, 750 doctors are over 60 years old, and currently only 150 of them are in specialization, Nikolić warned at the press conference.

As Poslovni writes, if al the older doctors were to retire at this moment, around 300 thousand citizens would be left without their chosen family medicine doctor. Nikolić noted that Croatia is threatened with the collapse of the entire healthcare system.

She believes that young doctors stay away from family medicine because they have the lowest salaries and benefits in the system.

This can best be seen in the example of Đakovo. The Trnava Municipality, which consists of six villages, according to the last population census has about 1,300 inhabitants, and has not had a family doctor for a year, says Nikolić.

She also stated that every doctor needs to be given the opportunity to choose whether they want to work in a health center or in a private practice, but to still be contractually bound by the HZZO, with clearly set rules and without administrative obstacles.

She finds it necessary to promote family medicine during studies, and the local self-government should, she says, find ways to stimulate young people to come and work with them through scholarships and housing subsidies.

Hajduković: Mobile clinics and pharmacies would help older citizens

"Pediatricians are retiring, and they don't have adequate replacements. The entire region of Miholjac depends on one pediatrician who works part-time while in retirement, reminds parliament member and party vice-president Domagoj Hajduković.

He also notes that there is a big problem with internships that must be completed in order to get a work license and so that doctors can enter the labour market.

The state does not provide it to the required extent, it takes a few years and then many decide to leave Croatia, Hajduković points out. He adds that there are currently around 3,000 people waiting for an internship, and that the minister has announced that only 1,500 places will be secured in 2023. He sees the basic problem in the fact that the state did not provide enough money so that everyone could complete the internship within a reasonable time.

Hajduković also states that access to health care for many elderly citizens is limited and that this problem could be partially solved by establishing mobile clinics, palliative clinics and mobile pharmacies that would be part of the Health Centers of local and regional self-government units.

These are projects that literally mean life for the rural area, and such problems should have been solved by the so-called project Slavonia and European money, Hajduković concluded.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated News section.

Wednesday, 11 January 2023

Croatian Doctors Simultaneously Transplant Heart and Liver

January 11, 2023 - Incredible success of Croatian doctors from KBC Zagreb - a few days ago, they transplanted a man's heart and liver simultaneously.

As Index writes, Hrvoje Gašparović, head of the Clinic for Cardiac Surgery at KBC Zagreb, commented on the venture for Nova TV. More than 30 people participated in the operation, and the patient is recovering very well.

"Heart transplantation, liver transplantation, in fact, transplantation of all solid organs, is always a race against time. There is a rigid time frame within which the transplantation procedure must be started and completed. When we disconnect the heart from circulation, we usually disconnect it in another country so that we would re-incorporate it into circulation in the Republic of Croatia. We want to do that within four hours. Sometimes we lose more than two hours just for transportation," explained Gašparović.

A complex operation

He pointed out that it is a complex procedure in which four surgical teams participate, which must be carefully coordinated to perform the transplant in the correct sequence.

"The heart transplant happens first, after which the colleagues from abdominal surgery continued the operation and successfully performed their part of the liver transplant," Gašparović pointed out.

Professor Gašparović's team transplanted lungs to a child for the first time in Croatia. "Lung transplantation is a program that has been stable for the past few years," he said, adding that the child received the lungs of an adult.

106 transplants last year

He pointed out that a total of 106 solid organ transplants were performed last year - 27 heart transplants, 26 liver transplants, 43 kidney transplants, and 10 lung transplants.

"It is a comprehensive transplant program that we can be proud of. Transplantation of solid organs in this country is the backbone of our medicine. Hats off to everyone participating, including our transplant coordinators from the Ministry. It is difficult to count all the people who participate in this process", he concluded.

"Regarding the transplantation of solid organs, especially hearts, we are extremely good at the global level. For example, everyone remembers that in 2018 Croatia beat England 2:1, but not many people know that Croatia beat that same England, and Germany too, 9:3 in the number of transplants we do per million inhabitants. Therefore, we have nothing to be ashamed of," said Gašparović.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Lifestyle section.

Friday, 18 November 2022

City of Split to Co-Finance Medically Assisted Reproduction

November the 18th, 2022 - The City of Split is set to co-finance medically assisted reproduction in order to attempt to raise the birthrate in that part of Central Dalmatia.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the City of Split will co-finance medically assisted fertilisation from 2023 onwards, writes Vecernji list, stating that such a pronatal measure has already been introduced by the Eastern Croatian city of Osijek, as well as by the municipality of Gradac in the Makarska littoral.

Many couples try to become parents even after several failed fertility procedures, when they no longer have the right to the procedure of medically assisted reproduction at the expense of the Croatian Institute for Health Insurance, which is a big blow to any normal bank account, so, in an effort to improve the devastating demographic trends in Dalmatia, the city will cover part of the costs of such interventions.

When it comes to demographics in the city and the wider area, the situation is truly alarming. Split has lost 10,100 inhabitants in the last ten years along, and as for the ratio of births and deaths, in the same period, about 3,000 more people died were born.

''We've agreed with Mayor Ivica Puljak that from 2023 on, the City of Split will receive a fund for subsidising medically assisted reproduction. The fund will amount to 600,000 kuna. We will further harmonise the regulations with the mayor before announcing the tender. Otherwise, HZZO covers the costs of four procedures, for women up to 42 years of age. I propose that the City of Split co-finance procedures for women living in Split until the age of 44 or 45, but also to co-finance procedures for couples who have already used all of the procedures financially covered by HZZO, of which there are unfortunately many,'' said Davor Matijevic, a Split city councilor from SDP.

He explained that HZZO pays out in full for four procedures if they are performed at KBC Split (Split Hospital). If those procedures either don't work or result in loss, people seeking such treatments then have to pay for them alone, which is either incredibly difficult or in some cases simply not possible.

For the additional three procedures, the City of Split will co-finance 80 percent of the total costs if the procedure is performed at Split Hospital, 60 percent if the procedure is performed in one of the private institutions in the wider area, and 40 percent (up to 7,500 kuna) for procedures performed in another healthcare institution located on the territory of the Republic of Croatia or even in another European Union member state.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated news section.

Saturday, 29 October 2022

Roadmap to Cholesterol: Croatia Among First to Implement New Global Project

October 29, 2022 - Croatia is very successful in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases but urgently needs to improve prevention - we are among the first to start implementing the new global Roadmap for Cholesterol, which was just presented in Zagreb, as well as other projects to improve the nation's cardiovascular health.

Although Croatians have the highest obesity rate amongst the citizens of the EU and insufficiently recognize and treat other key cardiovascular risk factors, Croatia went from the group of so-called very high-risk countries to the group of countries with a high risk of cardiovascular diseases. This is confirmation of the good practice of domestic experts in cardiovascular health, but the key next step is the National Plan for the Suppression of Cardiovascular Diseases with the aim of transforming into a group of countries with low cardiovascular risk – the most developed countries in Europe and the world.



The symposium named Use your brain chose your heart, organized by the World Heart Federation and the Croatian Cardiac Society in Zagreb and under the chairmanship of academician Davor Miličić, brought together the leading domestic experts in cardiovascular health. Just after the world premiere, got acquainted with the new Roadmap for Cholesterol 2022. It is a comprehensive document aimed at improving health outcomes and survival in patients with increased cardiovascular risk, with an emphasis on the importance of comprehensive prevention, early and high-quality diagnostics, and screening of risk groups from an early age. It was presented by the president of the European Society for Atherosclerosis and one of the world's leading authorities on cardiovascular diseases, prof. Kausik Ray. As the host of the symposium, academician Davor Miličić asserted that with more than 22,000 deaths from cardiovascular diseases per year, Croatia is among the countries with higher mortality rates than the EU average and is classified as one of the countries with a high cardiovascular risk in Europe. In Croatia, there is already a consensus on the need for the urgent adoption of the National Plan for the Suppression of Cardiovascular Diseases, which has the support of the Ministry of Health. Academician Miličić also pointed out that cardiology is a very successful field of Croatian medicine, within which a number of new diagnostic and therapeutic achievements have been introduced into routine practice, such as the primary network of interventional treatment in acute coronary syndrome and other most complex interventional procedures in diseases of the heart, aorta and peripheral vessels. Great progress was also made in arithmology and electrostimulation, and of course, in heart transplantation and the use of mechanical circulation pumps, which is why Croatian cardiology is internationally recognized and acknowledged. Therefore, our cardiology patients, even the most difficult ones, can receive high-quality and comprehensive cardiology care in Croatia.



"In order to bring Croatia closer to countries with the lower mortality rates from cardiovascular diseases,  it is necessary to simultaneously work on six key challenges – comprehensive primary prevention targeted active and systematic detection of high-risk patients who do not yet have an established diagnosis, such as those with familial hyperlipoproteinemia, reduction of obesity and cardiometabolic risk, public health campaigns, the introduction of new therapies in accordance with the guidelines of the European Society of Cardiology and, of course, the consistent and steady implementation of a comprehensive National Plan for the suppression of cardiovascular diseases"  concluded academician Miličić.

Academician Miličić also pointed out screening for familial hyperlipoproteinemia among preschool children as one of the future major public health projects, whereby Croatia would be one of the first countries with this type of screening that exposes children with an extremely high cardiovascular risk, but also their parents and siblings. This enables the start of effective treatment and prevents cardiovascular disease and mortality, which without treatment can be expected in adolescence or young adulthood. Academician Željko Reiner reminded it is a congenital disease where patients have a lifelong high value of LDL cholesterol, which needs to be effectively and permanently controlled.




"It is estimated that about 20,000 people in Croatia suffer from such a hereditary form of high cholesterol, of which only one percent has been recognized. Due to long-term imperceptible exposure to high values of bad LDL-cholesterol, these people have a 20 times higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases than the rest of the population. In this procedure, after identifying a child with familial hypercholesterolemia, the cooperation of a family medicine doctor, but also of the whole family, which would be covered by screening and the possibility of effective, timely treatment, is needed," added academician Reiner, president of the Croatian Society for Atherosclerosis.

The Ministry of Health strongly supports the proposals and conclusions of the Symposium, pointed out the representative of the Ministry, Dr. Ivana Portolan Pajić. "The upcoming healthcare reform is making a big turn towards primary prevention, early disease detection, and the implementation of screening for familial hypercholesterolemia in preschool children, which will begin in 2023," she concluded.




Academician Bojan Jelaković, president of the Croatian Society for Hypertension, reminded me of the importance of reduced salt intake. "In the last 12 years, we have recorded a significant decrease in salt intake, both among citizens and through cooperation with the food industry, as well as a decrease in blood pressure values. But we still have to work systematically to highlight the danger that excessive salt consumption poses to human health,"  added academician Jelaković. With this Symposium, Croatia hosted the World Heart Federation for the first time, which is the representative of the global cardiovascular community, and gathers more than 200 member organizations in more than hundreds of countries.

Thursday, 8 September 2022

Dubrovnik Hosts Digitalisation in Healthcare, Health Tourism Conference

September the 8th, 2022 - The City of Dubrovnik hosted a recent conference on digitalisation in healthcare, and the potential of health tourism.

As Morski writes, the global health and wellness tourism market is worth more than 900 billion US dollars and is the fastest growing segment of tourism with annual growth of 15 to 20 percent. Croatia can do more in this than it does currently, and this was among the main messages from this week's conference "Digitalisation in healthcare and the potential of health tourism 365'', held in Dubrovnik.

The conference was organised by the Dubrovnik County Chamber of Commerce, bringing together experts from the fields of digitisation, innovation, healthcare and tourism.

The global data on the value of that market presented at the conference are actually estimates by the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), according to which the largest part of the total estimated value of the global market, or about 800 billion dollars, refers to wellness, while the value of health tourism is estimated to stand at about 125 billion dollars.

With regard to the growing market value, which also stimulates the increase in demand for healthcare and wellness tourism services, as well as the growing life expectancy of the world's population, it was pointed out at the conference that these are opportunities for further development of that market, including right here in Croatia.

The global report on the health and medical tourism market confirms that there are opportunities for growth and predicts that revenues in this market will grow by 30 percent annually from 2021 to 2026, and everything was additionally accelerated by the global coronavirus pandemic, which resulted in a significantly increased interest in healthcare and wellness tourism. Croatia also has a great opportunity due to its natural benefits, professional staff and excellent offer.

What it lacks, and what is happening more and more in the world, is that this growing demand is accompanied by increased investments in healthcare infrastructure, which in recent years also includes significant investments in the areas of digital transformation and innovation, robotics and artificial intelligence. Nevertheless, the European Centre for Digitisation and Innovation in Healthcare was established right here in the Republic of Croatia, which provides strong support to the business sector in the segment of project application support, research, testing, and the marketing of new products and services, and therefore this centre is designated as a possible reference point for the development of that sector.

The participants of the Dubrovnik conference agreed that Croatia has the potential for developing digital processes, including the digital transformation of the healthcare system, but with the assumption that speeding up all administrative processes is paramount. Croatia is a very attractive destination, it is especially strong in the fields of dental, aesthetic surgery and ophthalmology. In addition, work can be done to attract significant investments in this segment of the tourist offer and the clear marketing communication of Croatia as a destination for year-round health tourism, which would begin to solve the problems of seasonality.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

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