International projects refer to the cooperation of the Croatian Institute of Telemedicine with various international organizations, entities and countries outside the EU.

Project of improving emergency medical help and investment planning in health

Emergency telemedicine services are health services provided by a teleconsultant in a telemedicine specialist centre at the request sent by a referring health professional to a service recipient in emergency and life-threatening situations.

The project of improving emergency medical help and investment planning in health is carried out according to the Loan Agreement no. 7598 HRconcluded on 21 October 2008 between the Republic of Croatia and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, confirmed by the Act on Confirming the Loan Agreement no. 7598 HR for the project of improving emergency medical help and investment planning in health between the Republic of Croatia and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development ("Narodne novine" broj 12/08).

The aims of the project are to increase efficiency and outcomes of the emergency medical care system and to strengthen the capacity of the Ministry of Health and Social Care for developing and implementing strategic projects. The project consists of two components: “Development of Emergency Medical Help” and “Institutional support of the Ministry of Health and Social Care for strategic planning connected to the accession to the European Union”. The way of organizing the delivery of emergency telemedicine services is contained in the fourth subcomponent of the Development of Emergency Medical Helpcomponent of the mentioned projects. The latter component deals with the development of telemedicine projects as a support to the emergency medical help reform and includes the extension of telemedicine services to islands and other remote areas in order to improve the provision of emergency medical help in areas with fewer services of this kind, as well as on islands and in other locations, and to supply them with goods, consultation services and training.

The integration of telemedicine as a means for providing timely medical services in emergency medical help raises the quality of health care in emergencies, especially in hard-to-reach locations with poor transport connections, such as islands and mountain areas (rural and hard-to-reach areas). If a patient cannot be transported to a unified hospital emergency ward due to bad weather conditions or his/herremote location, telemedicine centres need to be organized in emergency medical care branches in rural and hard-to-reach areas. In addition, telemedicine centres need to be organized in unified emergency wards of the hospital where the patient will be transported. These will be the hospitals where the population from remote areas usually comes for health care purposes. The regionalization and decentralization of telemedicine in emergency situations improve outcomes and the quality of provided services and reduce response time. This way, idle mode in patient care is avoided, or can be used to provide the patient with useful medical services in the following ways:

  • A doctor working in the emergency ward of a health centre or an outpatient emergency branch can contact doctors in the unified hospital emergency ward and ask for consultations with them, thus maintaining or reaching a stable condition of the patient.
  • Doctors in a hospital that will eventually treat the patient can take all the necessary steps to prepare for the arrival of the patient and his timely treatment,
  • The number of randomemergency interventions is reduced by correctly directing the actions of medical staff who treats the patient directly,
  • The time of treatment is reduced thanks to a timely assessment of the patient’s condition which is the consequence of participation of more qualified medical staff.

The extension of specialist and diagnostic services to hard-to-reach locations by using telemedicine is carried out by gradually and systematically implementing telemedicine centres at targeted locations (including the setting up of communication infrastructure and the education of health care professionals).

More information about this project can be found on the website of the Ministry of Health and Social Care and on the website of the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development.