A Digital Health Solution for Travelers: Keep a Doctor in Your Pocket

September 9, 2013
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(Editor’s Note: John Nosta writes for Forbes under the heading, “Health Critical”)

OK, you’re miles away from home on a business trip or exotic vacation and the unexpected happens.  You get sick.  And depending on the nature of your illness, this could be anything from a nuisance to life-threatening situation.

(Editor’s Note: John Nosta writes for Forbes under the heading, “Health Critical”)

OK, you’re miles away from home on a business trip or exotic vacation and the unexpected happens.  You get sick.  And depending on the nature of your illness, this could be anything from a nuisance to life-threatening situation.

No one knows this better than Marcel Muenster when, in 2009, Marcel’s dream vacation turned into this very nightmare after eating a single piece of moldy fruit in Hong Kong. Then a physician at Johns Hopkins, Muenster knew he had food poisoning, but was frustrated by his inability to access quality medical care while he was traveling in a new country. That experience led to the launch of TraveDoc, a free online doctor appointment scheduling service, accessible from any Internet-connected device, for people who need a doctor, dentist, or specialist in a new country, literally connecting doctors and patients around the globe.

travedoc – connecting doctors and patients around the globe from anastrophic on Vimeo.

Muenster wasn’t alone in his condition and frustration. Over 50 million people travel to less developed countries every year and 64% of these travelers have an existing health impairment.  And 16% of them seek medical care while they are abroad. Along with the language barrier, the reasons for this are easy to understand. Travelers don’t know what to do, where to go, who to see, or who to trust — whether they need to see a doctor for a chronic condition or a sudden illness.

This is how TraveDoc works: Patients find their physician by entering their doctor’s specialty, location, and language. Then they enter their personal information and book their appointment–including house calls–right on the doctor’s calendar. They receive a text message and/or email confirmation, including directions to their physician’s office (if applicable), and they’re on their way back to good health.  Our smart phone just keep on getting smarter and helps keep us healthier!

TraveDoc launched in Ghana in June 2013 and is looking to expand globally.

To read other posts in this exclusive ongoing series, please visit the Mobile Health Around the Globe main page. And if you have a Mobile Health Around the Globe story to tell, please post a comment below or email me at joan@socialmediatoday.com  Thanks!

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