DIGI4Care – Transforming patient journeys through digital innovation in healthcare across the Danube Region

DIGI4Care, a new initiative of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (Danube Region Programme), aims to redefine patient pathways through innovation and collaboration by testing, validating and strategically integrating digital and AI solutions.

By fostering collaboration, knowledge sharing and innovation capacity, the project aims to bridge the digital divide between newer and older European Union Member States, as well as non-EU countries in the Danube Region.

Leading Institution: Health Management Training Centre, Semmelweis University – HUNGARY

Budget: 2.3 million euros | Duration: 2.5 years

Partnership: 12 organizations from 8 – Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Romania, Ukraine

Targeted diseases: Diabetes, Cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Dementia and other cognitive disorders

Outcomes: digitally enabled integrated care model & action plan

Ensuring effective integration of digital technologies in healthcare

Beyond the introduction of new technologies, DIGI4Care focuses on assessing the feasibility, benefits and added value of integrating digital technologies into healthcare processes such as technology assessment, financing models, data management, ethical considerations and workforce skills development. This approach ensures that digital solutions are effectively integrated into clinical practice and that healthcare professionals are equipped with the necessary skills to implement them successfully.

From prevention to rehabilitation: piloting digital solutions for common diseases

Four pilot actions will be designed, implemented and evaluated jointly and will focus on introducing digital technologies for prevalent conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and other cognitive disorders. DIGI4Care harnesses the power of technology to improve the quality of healthcare services and patient outcomes throughout the healthcare continuum, from prevention, screening, primary and outpatient care to post-clinical, long-term and rehabilitation care.

Ensuring long-term success with a comprehensive digital framework

The project also includes the development of a digitally enabled integrated care model and action plans to facilitate the seamless integration of digital technologies throughout the patient journey. These efforts will be supported by a digital knowledge platform and radar to foster ongoing sharing of digital health technologies. In addition, a pilot-validated data management model ensures comparability of results and facilitates future collaboration, while a dedicated dashboard enables data-driven decision-making for wider adoption.

Equipping, educating and empowering: tools for sustainable healthcare improvement

In addition, DIGI4Care is creating a comprehensive training toolbox and university curricula to ensure that healthcare professionals have up-to-date skills in the use of digital technologies. Through capacity-building workshops in different regions and the development of educational materials, DIGI4Care aims to raise awareness among healthcare professionals and equip them with the necessary skills to effectively implement digital solutions in their practices. This holistic approach, as well as the formulation of policy recommendations, promotes widespread support for digital technologies in healthcare.


The Digital Health and Innovations Cluster Bulgaria launched a project to create a model for the integration of telemedicine in Bulgarian healthcare system.

The reality of 2020 and the challenges that arose during the COVID-19 pandemic raise the question of what the future of healthcare is to come. Despite significant efforts, the pandemic has put tremendous pressure on healthcare systems around the world, threatening the quality of patient care. Among the solutions to these challenges is telemedicine, which enables the creation of complex follow-up care leading to effective prevention, diagnosis and a personalized approach to patient treatment.

In the wake of the pandemic, the use of virtual care and telemedicine have been established as an essential component for the delivery of quality and affordable health care. Health system governance in Europe will continue to invest and rethink health systems to ensure that telemedicine and other digital health technologies are enhanced and adapted to emerging regulations and ever-changing patient demand.

In line with its mission for supporting a sustainable and efficient data and technology-driven health system, the DHI Cluster has launched a project to build a comprehensive model for the integration of telemedicine in Bulgaria, including a training programme and an advocacy campaign.

The project focuses on providing recommendations and solutions for the development of the regulatory framework and the implementation of public policies related to the active introduction of telemedicine in Bulgarian healthcare and has 3 specific objectives:

1. Improving the regulatory framework and regulations in the health sector with a focus on telemedicine through partnership management with citizens and businesses.

2. Increasing the interaction between the administration, citizens and business in the creation, monitoring and implementation of telemedicine as a method for increasing access and quality of health care.

3. Achieve a mechanism for open and responsible policymaking and legislation in the health sector on telemedicine, addressing the needs and requirements of patients.

The project will evolve with the following activities:

✔️Activity 1. Research and analysis of the legal framework and assessment of the benefits and impact of the implementation of telemedicine, to be implemented through 1️⃣Study and analysis of the current European and national regulations in the field of telemedicine; 2️⃣Study of the benefits and effects of the implementation of telemedicine.

✔️Activity 2. Development of a model with recommendations for introduction of telemedicine in the Bulgarian healthcare, to be implemented through 1️⃣Conducting 2 focus groups to discuss the possibilities for integrating telemedicine in Bulgarian healthcare; 2️⃣Developing a model for integrating telemedicine in Bulgarian healthcare.

✔️Activity 3. Advocacy campaign for the introduction of telemedicine in Bulgaria, to be implemented through: 1️⃣Conducting a workshop with representatives from the government, NGOs, and health sectors on topics related to telemedicine as part of digital health; 2️⃣ Conducting a sociological survey to identify the training needs for the development of telemedicine skills among medical students and doctors; 3️⃣ Developing a telemedicine training program for medical students and present it to representatives of the Ministry of Education and Science and medical universities in Bulgaria.

✔️Activity 4. Information activities for increasing the civic participation in the processes of introduction of telemedicine in the Bulgarian healthcare, to be implemented through 1️⃣Conducting an information campaign on social media to promote the benefits of the introduction of telemedicine; 2️⃣Conducting a final conference to present the results of the project.

As a final result of the project implementation, it is expected to achieve a broad understanding and support among the representatives of the target groups on the specific health care needs that will be addressed with the introduction of telemedicine as a method for effective delivery of health services to the population.

The project “Improving policies and regulatory framework in the field of telemedicine” is funded by the Operational Program “Good Governance”.



Digital Health and Innovation Cluster Bulgaria, Novartis Bulgaria and JA Bulgaria have implemented the first ever project in MU-Sofia, which covers training in digitalization, entrepreneurship and innovation.

The course was launched at the end of 2019 as a free-choice course and aimed to increase students’ knowledge on topics related to leadership, entrepreneurship and initiative, while presenting opportunities for creating digital innovations in medicine. The lectures included innovative world practices for the development of innovations in medicine, as well as good practices from Bulgaria.

For the second semester of the course, the organizers prepared topics related to trends and approaches in new technologies and innovations in healthcare and medicine, opportunities for digitalization, optimization and automation of processes in the sector, creating conditions for developing entrepreneurial and critical thinking, as well as solutions which facilitate the future doctors in their work on a daily basis.



Entrepreneurship Education NETwork (EE-Hub) in Bulgaria and HEALTHCARE

Digital Health and Innovation Cluster BULGARIA is powered by the EE-Hub. Healthcare topic entered the agenda of the EE-Hub in Bulgaria in 2017.

WHY does the EE-Hub work on healthcare?

  • To support entrepreneurship education and capacity building for a sustainable and efficient healthcare system.

HOW does the EE-Hub support healthcare goals?

  • By targeting young healthcare professionals, medical scientific societies and academia (not only medical universities).
  • Through focused exchange of ideas among experts and constant dialogue with stakeholders.
  • By capacity building of public administration and growing of future leaders.

WHAT is the expected outcome?

  • Create an entrepreneurship ecosystem in healthcare through constant sharing of innovative ideas and collaboration among stakeholders from different sectors.
  • Support innovative ideas in healthcare to turn into pilots.

Build the base of knowledge-based economy and create conditions for disruptive healthcare innovation in Bulgaria.

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© 2020 DHI Cluster. All rights reserved.