Bulgaria’s UniHospital Puts Technology at the Heart of Patient Care with IBM

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Watch key highlights from the first YouTube SEE industry talk held on September 15, 2016 – through the press release below and at the end of the post.

UniHospital Bulgaria

Sofia, BULGARIA, September 15, 2016 – IBM today announced that the new Bulgarian multi-specialty UniHospital, opened in June, is innovating in patient care via a private cloud based electronic health record services delivered to physicians and patients through a fully integrated and digitized IT infrastructure.

Located in Panagyurishte, hometown of world’s famous 24-Karat golden masterpiece of Thracian worksmanship, UniHospital is deemed town’s next major treasury – this time in high tech medicine.

Having attracted more than EUR 45 million – the biggest healthcare investment in Bulgaria in the last 25 years, the 310-bed facility features 27 clinics and diagnostic centers with 700+ staff. It hosts the latest technologies in surgery, imaging, laboratory and electronic medical records, including next generation medical multimodal linear accelerators and the unique for the region of South East Europe, robotic digital subtraction angiography system within a hybrid operating room. Eleven separate and fully functional medical systems handle the entire medical process.

Penka Georgieva, Chairwoman of Patients’ Organtizations “Zaedno s teb” about the healthcare trends.

“Bulgaria’s population is shrinking faster than in Europe and we are lagging behind EU averages in key healthcare indicators. Our country is among top spenders on healthcare (8,4+% from GDP), we have more than 340 hospitals, yet we are in the top 3 worldwide in terms of death rate*. The quality of the healthcare for citizens is poor and this is even more visible in rapidly evolving regions such as Panagyurishte which is also an industrial mining center,” says Penka Georgieva, Chairwoman of Patients’ Organtizations “Zaedno s teb”. “Technology has a significant role to play in transforming healthcare and linking medical expenditure to patient outcomes”.*

IBM has designed and together with other vendors, has implemented a solution, which is the first of its kind deployed in Bulgaria. It connects hospital’s medical systems and brings data from disparate applications and equipment together to offer a real-time view of patient’s condition via a web portal. All patient records, MRI scans and other medical applications are hosted onto a single datacenter, significantly speeding up the full cycle – from the right diagnosis to the right treatment.

Dr. Lucia Dobreva, Director of UniHospital in Panagyurishte, Bulgaria about the hospital of the future.

“IBM solutions working in UniHospital are a real proof point that the first step towards an intelligent and effective healthcare begins with the digitalization of the entire medical process,” says Dr. Lucia Dobreva, Director of UniHospital. “Our hospital hosts world’s top medical and imaging equipment, however its value can be fully harnessed only when the design and the performance of the IT infrastructure match that quality. This is a fact at UniHospital and today, for example, our microbiology laboratory can localize an infectious agent within just five minutes, after which doctors can analyze full patient picture to identify the right treatment in less than six hours –a process that in other facilities may take up to three days.”

Today, UniHospital is the only one in Bulgaria and in South East Europe to enable simultaneous use of medical imaging during surgery or other invasive manipulations. Its IT infrastructure is capable of handling huge amounts of data. A 15 GB PET-CT scan, for example, is being generated in just a couple of minutes and it needs another couple to be shared across all hospital’s clinics. In addition, shortly after it is taken, it can be directly displayed in the operating room where a surgeon can act on it immediately saving patient’s life.

Igor Pravica, Country Leader, IBM Bulgaria on IBM’s role and cognitive healthcare

“Since the first agreement signed last year, IBM has been delivering a full end-to-end healthcare development roadmap to UniHospital, covering a wide range of healthcare services – from basic hospital operations, imaging and lab services, patient clinical information, to integration of medical systems, data analytics, and discussions about cognitive healthcare,” says Igor Pravica, Country Leader, IBM Bulgaria.

IBM solution has enabled new levels of uptime and stability, increased agility, faster and better patient services and greater operational efficiency. In the long run the IT infrastructure can be further developed to help UniHospital cull insight from swelling volumes of patient data and provide it easily to doctors, nurses, clinical laboratories and other healthcare institutions.

Outward-bound medical tourism in Bulgaria indicates another potential area for development for UniHospital. Because not all medical treatments are currently available in Bulgaria, every year thousands of Bulgarians seek healthcare services outside the country. UniHospital has the potential to close this gap for some of the patients and offer the same or higher quality treatment not only to Bulgarians, but also to the patients from the neighboring countries.

* Source: World’s factbook

IBM SEE Industry Talks
Healthcare in the spotlight
YouTube – September 15, 2016

Dr. Alex Simidchiev, GlaxoSmithKline, Canada, Healthcare evangelist & digital advocate about the healthcare paradox.


Atanas Matev, IT Architect, Healthcare, IBM Bulgaria about IBM technologies at UniHospital


Matej Adam, IBM Watson Health Executive, IBM Central and Eastern Europe about cognitive hospital


Svetlana Stavreva, CMO, IBM SEE about the first Industry Talk held on You Tube from IBM in South East Europe.


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