February 3, 2020 – Croatia will be hosting the first European Patient Experience and Innovation Congress (EPIC 2020) in Dubrovnik 2020. Meet the man behind the project, Ognjen Bagatin from Bagatin Clinic in Zagreb and Split.
He is the dynamic pioneer of Croatian medical tourism, a man determined to learn from the best and introduce the best to health tourism in Croatia. Which is how Dubrovnik came to be home to the first-ever European Patient Experience and Innovation Congress, taking place in Dubrovnik from March 19 – 21. TCN caught up with Ognjen Bagatin, the charismatic CEO of International Cosmetic Surgery Clinic of the Year 2019, Bagatin Clinic.
EPIC is the first patient experience and innovation congress in Europe. Tell us firstly what you mean by the term ‘patient experience’ and why does it merit its own conference?
Thank you for a great question. The goal of the „Patient experience“ is to put the focus on the patient-first approach, and the main goal is to get better medical outcomes and to measure them. It is important that all decisions we have in healthcare are looked through the eyes of the patient, and this is something that everybody in healthcare agrees on, and understands. If you place the focus on patients and patient-first approach, we will make better decisions and bring value to patients in all our health systems.
(Ognjen Bagatin with Cleveland Clinic CEO Tom Mihaljevic)
With the digital transformation being so instrumental in healthcare, we wanted to bring all the best innovation that make patient experience better and with that better outcomes for the patients and less cost for health systems in the long run. Cleveland Clinic is a pioneer of Patient Experience, and they were one of the first who opened an office of patient experience in their clinic, even assigning a CXO (Chief Experience Officer). But this is not all, they are sharing that if you want to improve the patient experience, first you need to improve the medical staff experience. You can’t have a great patient experience without having a great medical staff experience.
This should not be just once a year congress, this should be a way of life for health in Europe. A continuous improvement in patient experience every day of the year, and we wanted to bring best of the best to help us with that.
(Ognjen Bagatin with co-organiser Irving Stackpole – read Irving’s epic EPIC interview with TCN here)
Tell us how this conference came about, as it has some interesting organizers – the best hospital in the world (Cleveland Clinic), a top medical tourism consultancy (Stackpole & Associates), and a clinic in Zagreb (Bagatin Clinic). Where did the idea come from, and how did you all fall into cooperation?
At Bagatin Clinic we always think about how to provide the best service to our patients and our clients, and the idea came to me when I was in Australia a few years ago visiting few top-notch hospitals to see what they are doing in this field. It led me to HSS hospital in Sydney where they had a huge sign saying „PATIENT FIRST“ in every room, to remind the staff who is the most important VIP person in the hospital.
I consider that is a great way to make your mission short and sweet and I asked people in the hospital if they came up with this or they saw it somewhere else? They said one of their top surgeons had worked in Cleveland Clinic and he transferred the culture to their hospital. So I went to Cleveland Clinic to experience this culture and the rest is history.
(Ognjen Bagatin with Team Cleveland – Mario Škugor and Joe Sweet)
I had a great support there from Mario Škugor, the endocrinologist from Cleveland Clinic who introduced me to the CEO of Cleveland Clinic, Tomislav Mihaljevic MD, and Joe Sweet from the international office of Patient experience. Since Cleveland Clinic is opening their first-ever European clinic in London, near Buckingham Palace, in 2021, they also wanted to spread the Cleveland way of healthcare approach in Europe, and we decided to do this amazing congress after 2 years of preparation. We have an amazing announcement of Tom Mihaljevic for this Congress that have been seen by thousands of Healthcare professionals all around Europe:
To make it more professional, and on a higher level, we approached Irving Stackpole (top-level medical tourism and healthcare consultant) and Daniel C. Shaw (a leader from Global Rating Clinic, an amazing accreditation and reputation building organization) to join us to make a great impact on European Health systems and shift the epicenter of innovations in healthcare from US to Europe and with this to lift the medical outcomes results in our health systems. We as a team, together with Cleveland Clinic champions Mario Škugor and Joe Sweet, and Bojan Pintaric (executive director in Bagatin Clinic) and Sara Bukic (EPIC project leader) have formed a team who can really make a difference. We are very excited and can’t wait for the Congress to start.
Who should come, why, and what will they get from the conference?
Great question. The European Patient Experience and Innovation Congress will be a high energy, stimulating event for everyone, from C -Suite executives, to clinical practitioners, clinic owners, scientists and investors. EPIC brings together some of the most influential physicians, MedTech startups and health professionals from Europe & beyond to the table to improve how your patients will experience healthcare in the near future. As technology continues to help us achieve previously unattainable results in healthcare, join us for an insiders’ look at which technologies, ideas & innovations are improving the patient experience with some of the leading clinics & healthcare companies of the world so that you can stay ahead.
(Ognjen Bagatin with co-organiser Daniel Coulton Shaw. Read Daniel’s TCN interview for EPIC here)
We will explore:
- • The design of systems to improve patient experience
- • The role of science, artificial intelligence and big data
- • Investment opportunities
- • Bedside and interpersonal methods to improve patient care
- • Mobile and personal care apps
- • The “future” of healthcare
And you will have an opportunity to be a part of a boutique event with some of the giants of healthcare like Cleveland and Mayo Clinic, and many, many more as well. At the moment we have attendees from 22 countries in the world (17 from Europe) and the number is increasing every day.
Just looking at the list of speakers already assembled and with more to be confirmed, it looks like a medical tourism A-list – Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, Disney Institute, World Bank, the editor of IMTJ, as well as renowned Croatian experts such as Dragan Primorac from St. Catherine Specialty Hospital and Nikica Gabrić from Svjetlost. Tell us more.
I could talk all day about them, the organizational team has done a really amazing job of bringing to one event an incredible set of speakers from all over the world. The names of some of our keynote speakers are:
- Francis Papay, MD, a plastic surgeon from Cleveland Clinic, who did the first face transplantation with his team in North America – a fantastic story.
- Beata Kurucz, EIT (EIT Health), and they stimulate start-ups to bring innovation to life while building a globally competitive European healthcare industry.
- Stephan Bender from Disney institute – who will share with us how a hospital would look like if it was run by Disney, a top hospitality brand in the World
- Ivan Duggan from Cisco, an innovator who will share with us how the future will look like
- Rahul Kashyap, MD, Mayo Clinic innovator and clinician, He is an award-winning public speaker. He has received awards for exemplary research, quality improvement and leadership
- Dragan Primorac, MD, St. Catherine Hospital – who will share his futuristic view of personalized medicine and St. Catherine`s cooperation with Mayo Clinic and so on.
- Nikica Gabrić, MD, Svjetlost Eye Hospital, who will share how to make your clinic/hospital so popular that American Celebrity Movie Stars visit them and refer their friends to his 9 clinics in the region
- Karin Jay from Planetree, relationship-centered model of care and international certification criteria
- Paul O’Brien, a famous London Clinic chef and many many many more.
The Congress will also have a „shark tank – start-up contest“ on Saturday (March 21st) with teams from all over Europe.
Dubrovnik is a spectacular location and a great city to host this kind of event, with lots of history and a place that is on everybody`s bucket list. A city with an amazing history.
Also, because it has a connection with healthcare and some fun TIPS:
The home of EPIC 2020 – the city of Dubrovnik, developed on the east coast of the Adriatic, becoming an EPIC trading and maritime power, especially from the 14th century onwards. Although the city was economically developed, maritime trade with the East and the hinterland brought on a high risk of epidemics of various diseases. In order to preserve its commercial prosperity, identity and existence, Dubrovnik introduced various preventive medicine measures, the most famous of which is the invention of quarantine! By introducing regulations relating to hygiene and medicine in order to protect the health of its population and ensure the status of a powerful trading force it had at the time, it was ranked among the most developed European cities, while maintaining the distinctiveness of its medicine.
Another EPIC fun fact is the first pharmacy in Croatia, and the 3rd in Europe was in Dubrovnik. During the Middle Ages, the city was surrounded by gardens full of aromatic herbs, hence was the idea was born of founding laboratories for making medical preparations used to heal the minds and bodies of those in need!
P.S. Anyone who is a Game of Thrones fan wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity to visit King’s Landing!
(Photo by Romulic & Stojcic)
Innovation and technology are obviously playing a key role in the development of the medical tourism industry. What trends in particular excite you the most, and what are you looking forward to at EPIC?
Yes, you are right, innovation and technology are really influencing the way we communicate with our patients, but also how we follow up on them and how we create trust and relationship with them. This is where innovation and technology kick in the most, and at EPIC we will have an opportunity to hear about amazing innovations that are used by some of the world’s giants in healthcare, but also about niche innovation that can really make a difference in the future for the patients themselves and the patient experience. I`m looking forward to listening, learning and networking with great speakers and amazing attendees from all over the world.
2019 was a great year for your own Bagatin Clinic. We last saw each other in Berlin at the IMTJ Awards, where you picked up International Cosmetic Surgery Clinic 2019, as well as TEMOS accreditation. What are your plans for 2020 and how do you see things moving in the Croatian medical tourism industry in general?
We have fantastic plans for this year, including the expansion of our clinic in Zagreb the especially dental and aesthetic medicine departments. We are starting with some new services such as hair restoration in Zagreb and Split (which is very popular among medical tourists), we will be present as speakers or partners on more than 15 different conferences and summits outside of Croatia, and will probably open one more satellite outside of Zagreb and Split (this I will share soon).
(Ognjen Bagatin at the IMTJ awards in Berlin, where Bagatin Clinic was named International Cosmetic Surgery Clinic of the Year 2019)
We are continuing with our digital transformation and will open our webshop in February, continue to work on paperless clinic and use technology to save our staff’s to put an even better focus on our clients, and are in the process of developing our own app for our clients that will help to increase their patient experience with Bagatin. We are going to continue our cooperation with Cleveland clinic, and try to work more closely with other Croatian clinics and service providers so we can have a bigger impact on international markets. We have so many open projects at this moment, but let’s talk about it when we finish some of them?
To learn more about EPIC 2020, visit the official website.
For the latest from the Croatian medical tourism industry, follow the dedicated TCN section.
Total Croatia News is an official media partner of EPIC 2020.