Telemedicine for international travelers through a Smartphone-based monitoring platform (Trip Doctor®)

ABSTRACT

Background

Overall, more than 50% of international travelers develop symptoms while traveling and 55% of them seek medical assistance during the trip. We conducted a study to evaluate the usefulness of a Smartphone app called TRIP Doctor® to provide telemedicine to international travelers.

Methods

Participants over 18 years old attending our travel clinic at Hospital Clinic in Barcelona were invited to participate during 2017–2019. After downloading the app, the health status of the traveler was monitored on a daily basis, providing specific medical advice and offering remote contact with specialized physicians through an integrated chat, if needed.

Results

From 449 users, 59 (13%) contacted for medical assistance through the app during the trip. Main reasons for telemedicine were diarrhea (25.7%), skin conditions (19.7%) and fever (12.1%). Among patients who contacted, 90% of the travelers did not require to be referred to a local doctor. Symptomatic treatment was the main treatment prescribed (38%). In a 14.7% of the cases a follow-up was not required, a 63.2% recovered and 22.1% were loss of follow-up. After a multivariate analysis, duration of trip >14 days was found to be the only factor associated with the use of telemedicine (OR 2.2, CI 95% 1.1–4.5, p = 0.03).

Conclusion

In conclusion, travelers using telemedicine travelled for longer periods of time and mostly contacted for mild symptoms which could be solved successfully by remote assistance with our specialized doctors.