The EU projects in which the Croatian Institute of Telemedicine participates relate to the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme and the ERDF structural fund.

After becoming a member of the EU, the Republic of Croatia has the possibility to use structural and cohesion funds whose aim is to achieve balanced development of all the EU countries and regions and to finance activities which arise from common European policies.

The funds obtained from the structural and cohesion funds are used based on strategic goals and priorities of individual member states, which are defined through operational programmes for individual sectors and individual projects arising from each priority. The regional competitiveness operational programme, whose aim is to achieve higher competitiveness and balanced regional development of all the Croatian regions, will be financed from the funds of the European Regional Development Fund, whose very aim is to reduce the gaps between the levels of development of the EU regions by providing support to the development and structural adjustments of regional economies and to cross-border, transnational and interregional cooperation. The ERDF contributes towards the financing of production investments with the purpose of creating jobs, infrastructural investment, local development and development of small and medium enterprises. 

The choice of priorities of each operational programme is based on relevant programme documents and goals (on the national and EU level). However, it is equally important to ensure a number of appropriately prepared projects, which will be financed within each of these priorities. In order to support a strategic choice of priorities, the competent bodies of the Republic of Croatia asked the competent institutions (government bodies) and regional and local self-management units to deliver information about the existing projects as well as on potential candidates for the structural funds, together with a short project description and preparedness status.

The Croatian Institute of Telemedicine is included in the process of applyingfor the EU funds within the European Regional Development Fund. The Ministry of Economy, on behalf of the Republic of Croatia,is in charge of the implementation and coordination of the EU funds and of the drawing up of the National Strategic Reference Framework. Telemedicine in the Republic of Croatia and the Institute are included in the ERDF and NSRF as an integral part of the health infrastructure in the Republic of Croatia.

Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme

The accession of the Republic of Croatia to the FP7 of the CIP programme, notably to the ICT-PSPcomponent in the eHealth segment, is of crucial importance for the participation of Croatian experts in this and other similar programmes, which could help Croatia to establish an important position in the EU. This concrete eHealth thematic network is entitled"Creating a European coordination network for eHealth interoperability implementation". It gathers national eHealth expert centres which are competent for implementing the eHealth policy in the EU member states and/or acceding countries. The purpose of this thematic network is to provide assistance when coordinating technical issues, facilitate the implementation of eHealth interoperable solutions with respect to the number of interoperable eHealth applications and services that will be provided across national borders and to increase the mobility of the EU citizens, products and services.

The proposed thematic network in which Croatia is included, and which is represented by the Croatian Institute of Telemedicine, was successfully submitted to the European Commission. Twenty-seven national expert centres from the member states and acceding countries have been included. The thematic network will play a key role in the interoperability of health systems in the EU through cooperation with the participants in type A projects and the development of concepts for future type A pilots. The ultimate goal of type A pilot projects is to establish an information service in several member states and acceding countries. Such projects require coordination and cooperation within a consortium of countries and are thus considered to be the most demanding to implement within the ICT-PSPcomponent.

The purpose of the thematic network is to provide required assistance when coordinating technical issues, and to facilitate the implementation of interoperable solutions for e-Health in terms of the number of interoperable applications and services for eHealth that will be provided across national borders and to increase the mobility of the EU citizens, products and services. The name of the thematic network is "Calliope" (Call for Interoperability).

European Union structural fund – ERDF

Interventions in health infrastructures will be aimed at improving emergency medical services and telemedicine. The merging and integration of the existing emergency services into a single public system for providing emergency medical help and the management of such services will boost their efficiency and result in shorter response time and improved preparedness for dealing with emergencies. Similarly, the improvement of the telemedicine system will contribute to the quality of health care provided in rural and remote areas, and positive effects on tourism are also expected.

Acceptable investments in this area include the following: construction, reconstruction and upgrade of the existing communication infrastructure for the needs of emergency medical help and telemedicine; construction, reconstruction and equipment of unified emergency hospital wards and purchase of equipment for telemedicine needs.

The Croatian Institute of Telemedicine, in cooperation with the Croatian Institute of Emergency Medicine and the Ministry of Health and Social Care, have proposed a project which represents the continuation of the health reform in the Republic of Croatia.

The proposed project is entitled Improvement of Emergency Medical Services and Telemedicine, and it is subdivided into four sub-projects:

  1. Communicationinfrastructurefor telemedicine and emergency medicine systems
  2. Telemedicine boats for emergency care of injured persons and boats for medical product supply
  3. Two medical helicopters (for Northern Croatia and Dalmatia)
  4. Reconstruction, refurbishment and equipment of 10 unified emergency hospital wards

The described project is of great importance for the Croatian health system and as such it should ensure sufficient funds to carry out the reform.

The Croatian Institute of Telemedicine is in charge of preparing the subprojects 1 and 2, and the Croatian Institute of Emergency Medicine is in charge of preparing the subproject 3 and 4.