Meet Croatia’s Health Tourism Providers: 2. St Catherine Specialty Hospital

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March 1, 2019 – As Croatia looks to develop its medical tourism industry, TCN continues its look at the key health tourism providers. This week, St Catherine Specialty Hospital.

Several months ago, I was invited to a press conference at St Catherine Specialty Hospital. TCN gets invited to a lot of press conferences, but we rarely attend due to time and limited resources. But there was something a little different about this invitation, and as I was planning to be in Zagreb that day, I decided to attend. 


(Prof Dragan Primorac at the OneOme press conference in Zagreb)

I was blown away.

For two reasons. 

The first reason I was blown away was what was being announced.

Healthcare is not a topic I know a great deal about, but even I could see that the unveiling of the new OneOme RightMed pharmacogenetic test which had been developed in cooperation with Mayo Clinic in the States was a potential game-changer in global and personalised healthcare.

I learned that the fourth-largest killer in the United States each year was due to adverse drug reaction (ADR), more than 100,000 people a year. The prescribing of drugs which have little or no effect also costs over $100 billion a year. A drug which works for one patient may not work for another, and slower metabolisms also differentiate the speed with which medicines work on patients. The policy of blanket prescribing for all is both costly, ineffective and deadly. If only there was a way to personalise the diagnosis of a patient’s needs. 

Enter OneOme. The RightMed pharmacogenetic test does exactly that. After a simple swab OneOme processes the sample and generates the RightMed test report. Finally, you visit a clinic representative who helps you understand the test results. Depending on your genes, your body may break down a drug too slowly or too quickly. If you metabolise a drug too slowly, you may be exposed to too much of it, which may result in an adverse drug reaction (ADR). If you metabolise a drug too quickly, you may not get enough to have any effect at all. A OneOme RightMed test helps to identify this for your doctors.

A Mayo Clinic trial of 3,600 patients whose RightMed information was available to doctors led to a 30% reduction in hospitalisation of heart patients. 

The potential saving to national healthcare systems is mind-boggling. You can learn more about OneOme in this interview with Prof. dr. sc. Dragan Primorac of St Catherine Specialty Hospital.

The second reason I was blown away was that the first partner chosen to provide the OneOme RightMed test in Europe was St Catherine Specialty Hospital in Croatia.

Yes, tiny Croatia, at the forefront of cutting edge medical innovation. I was stunned. 

Stunned is an emotion I have encountered a lot since I discovered the emerging medical tourism story 18 months ago. I visited three of the country’s top private healthcare providers (Bagatin Clinic and Svjetlost were the others) as part of my research, and this led to my first visit to the St Catherine Zagreb facility. What I found at all three facilities was a level of customer care that far exceeded the perception of healthcare in Croatia. You can read my first article of discovery – Health Tourism is Coming Home – Why Zagreb is the Next Big Medical Tourism destination.

A member of the Leading Hospitals of the World, the OneOme press release introduced St Catherine as follows:

St. Catherine is a university teaching hospital and the official hospital of the Croatian Olympic Committee and of the Croatian Football Federation. The Hospital is the first European recipient of U.S. Global Healthcare Accreditation and known for introducing the integrative concept of personalized medicine in clinical practice.

I was soon to learn that St Catherine Specialty Hospital is so much more than that, as the official St Catherine website explains:

St. Catherine Hospital is a proud member of the prestigious group “The Leading Hospitals of The World”, while In June, 2015., The International Certification Association (ICERTIAS) announced that the St. Catherine Hospital won the top-Quality medal (QUDAL – QUality meDAL) along with award of St. Catherine Hospital being the best private hospital in the Republic of Croatia, which is all according to the customer’s/patient’s opinion and judgement. It is also worth mentioning how during the studies, the ICERTIAS was using CAWI – DEEPMA (Computer Assisted Web Interviewing – Deep Mind Awareness) methods in order to analyze and examine all the received data.

St. Catherine Specialty Hospital’s membership in the International ICERTIAS Customers’ Friend programme – “Because we care about our customers”, attests to the special care and attention that Specialty Hospital give to patients and their problems, as well their commitment towards developing long-term customer satisfaction from the very beginning – from the first phone call up to the final phase of treatment.

Nevertheless, the “Super-brands organization” based in Great Britain (since 1995), has proclaimed St. Catherine in July 2016, as one of the strongest and the most successful brands in that year, thus, along with that, St. Catherine won “Croatia Superbrands 2016 Award” regarding its quality, reliability and distinction.

On November 6th, 2015., Ministry of Science, Education and Sports of the Republic of Croatia announced that the St. Catherine Hospital become “Scientific Center of Excellence for the Personalized Medicine in the Republic of Croatia” as a part of Consortium that includes the top healthcare and scientific institutions in the country and such field.

In April 2017, St. Catherine was awarded the “Best Hospital Award” for the strong position at the national market and in international sector ratings, successful implementation of modern management technologies, staff excellence and the efficient marketing strategy. Mrs Jadranka Primorac, M.Sc., Board Member of St. Catherine Specialty Hospital was honoured as a “Manager of the Year” by the Europe Business Assembly, Oxford, UK.

In April 2017 St. Catherine hospital has won a major international medical tourism award for their efforts in attracting international patients to Croatia. St. Catherine Specialty Hospital was named “International specialist patient centre of the year” by medical travel publication the International Medical Travel Journal Medical Travel Awards 2017 at their annual awards ceremony, the IMTJ Medical Travel Awards 2017.

In May 2017, St. Catherine Specialty Hospital was selected among the top 10 European companies in the category of ‘The Award for Customer Focus’ at the European Bussines Awards, for its business success and excellence, innovation and ethics in business. St. Catherine Specialty Hospital has been selected among 34,000 businesses that have been involved in this prestigious competition. Also, St. Catherine Specialty Hospital has won the status of the “National Champion for the Republic of Croatia in The European Business Awards”.

The main hospital is a short drive from Zagreb in the town of Zabok. I took my daughter there for treatment and was amazed at the size of it in gorgeous and spacious grounds. St Catherine treats 35,000 patients a year, and after years in the Croatian public healthcare system, it was a totally different experience altogether, both in the diagnosis and the customer care. 

Croatia has its poster child heroes in various sectors of society who can compete on the world stage in their fields, such as Mate Rimac and Luka Modric. Add St Catherine Specialty Hospital to that list in the field of medical tourism. 

To learn more about St Catherine Specialty Hospital, visit the official website

To learn more about the Croatian medical tourism story, follow the dedicated TCN page


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