Telemedicine for travelers has taken virtual care to a whole new level with a service that uses the Internet and a remote medical exam kit to check and measure vital signs just as if you were making an in-person visit with health care professionals.
- 1 Telemedicine for travelers has taken virtual care to a whole new level with a service that uses the Internet and a remote medical exam kit to check and measure vital signs just as if you were making an in-person visit with health care professionals.
- 2 Telemedicine can now do realtime patient exams
- 3 Doctors can use telemedicine to examine a patient like they are in the office.
- 4 How Telemedicine for Travelers Works: Melissa’s story
- 5 Telemedicine for Travelers can provide real peace of mind
- 6 FAQs
- 7 Are you currently using Telemedicine?
- 8 Have you missed our other posts for New Travel Tech?
For the last decade or so, an increasingly sophisticated array of consumer medical gear and telemedicine services and technology that connects with smartphone apps has let patients monitor heart rates, even do an EKG. There are also gadgets travelers can purchase that take your blood pressure, measure blood glucose levels, and instantly take body temperature readings.
Wearable devices like the Apple Watch and FitBit and others have all sorts of health apps and sensors that can measure our body’s key functions.
All those are helpful, of course, when connecting through patient portals to your medical team. But the limitation of them is that they are just measurements. They are not nearly as effective in making a medical diagnosis as a physical exam.
Telemedicine can now do realtime patient exams
But a relatively new service called the TytoCare Remote Exam Kit – which, among other things, includes a high-tech stethoscope to check your heart, lungs, and abdomen and an otoscope to check your ears – provides healthcare providers real-time medically accurate information that lets them do an exam to diagnose your symptoms and come up with a treatment plan.
Just as if they were physically in the office or clinic with the patient.
This is a great convenience for both the patient and the provider. But be sure to read this whole article, especially the FAQs at the end, because this technology may be advancing rapidly, but it is not for every patient and every condition.
Still, we can’t help but marvel at how far and fast telemedicine is advancing. The TytoCare Home Care Clinic is an example of how telemedicine for travelers can keep us connected pretty much wherever we roam.
That’s the best part. You can do your medical exams and checkups through telemedicine, whether visiting a foreign country or traveling anywhere in the United States or Canada. It makes no difference where you are, be it an urban area in New York, a beachfront retreat in Florida, a ranch in Texas, or way out in the boondocks on a camping trip to remote areas or Montana. You can be basically anywhere.
As long as there’s a cell phone connection.
For medical checkups or treatment that requires a physical exam, the TytoCare kit lets your health practitioner do an immediate online assessment so they can provide symptomatic treatment and diagnosis.
Except for the most serious medical cases (see the FAQs at the end!), that often eliminates long travel time or travel costs to get to a doctor’s office or medical clinic for healthcare services.
Doctors can use telemedicine to examine a patient like they are in the office.
All travelers need is a connection to the Internet, a smartphone, and the TytoCare Virtual Care Kit, which is available at big Box Stores like Best Buy or through participating clinics and hospitals.
For patient care providers, such a telemedicine encounter provides way more medical information than received through telemedicine visits without physical exams, allowing more accurate medical history information to be gathered through the gear’s readouts.
That helps them provide better medical care, like diagnosing a potentially infectious disease needed for prescription medication or a medical emergency requiring a referral to a local doctor or hospital.
The kit isn’t cheap.
Best Buy sells it for $229.
Typically, arranging medical treatment or medical services through telemedicine consultations with the kit costs $59, depending on what participating medical professionals want to charge for their remote healthcare services.
A long list of hospitals, clinics, and physicians have been trained and participate in what TytoCare calls its Home Smart Clinic. The equipment has been approved by the FDA
How Telemedicine for Travelers Works: Melissa’s story
We first heard about it from a reader named Melissa, who wrote us to suggest we look into it for a possible story.
“We belong to the Cleveland Clinic Express Online, and it covers Canada as well as the USA,” said Melissa. ” Even more importantly, it has access to TytoCare which includes a stethoscope, tongue depressor with camera and a camera for the ears and nose. It works with WiFi and, just today, they were able to look in my hubby’s ears and nose and listen to his chest after he had a bout of COVID. Thankfully, he is clear. But it got me thinking how important these devices could be for people on the road. Truly amazing!“
As we looked into Melissa’s suggestion, we were intrigued. Clearly, as a traveler, using the system gave her and her husband peace of mind.
The connection uses an app that works in real-time to provide a live image and data stream from the patient to the clinician. The medical personnel can ask the patient to use the equipment to do self-exams that provide important information.
They can ask for additional information and then gather the readings and health information needed to give the patient medical advice or provide a continuity of care for a chronic condition.
The one requirement is a strong Internet connection with sufficient bandwidth, something that is pretty much always there with WiFi or even with just a couple of bars of cell service showing on the smartphone. The app works on iOS and Android devices.
You can also elect to take various readings to store in the app for later transmission to medical support people.
Telemedicine for Travelers can provide real peace of mind
Telehealth services through an online visit like this and the test results they can gather offer great peace of mind at a time of need when an expert opinion is sought and you are far from home or your normal health care providers.
And as travel tech using a mobile device like the gear used by TytoCare continues to improve, the entire healthcare system will benefit, cutting down the wait time for urgent care.
For travelers, using telemedicine for medical assistance means that when they don’t feel well, a trip no longer has to be cut short because they need to get back home to see their general practitioner.
But as handy as all this is, especially for travelers, telemedicine is no substitute for in-person medical visits.
What kind of health conditions should not be treated via Telemedicine?
Certain types of medical care may not be suitable for telemedicine, including:
- Emergencies: Telemedicine is not appropriate for emergency situations, such as heart attacks, strokes, or severe injuries. In these cases, it is important to seek immediate in-person medical attention.
- Complex or chronic conditions: Some complex or chronic conditions may require more in-depth or ongoing treatment unsuitable for telemedicine. For example, a patient with cancer may need frequent in-person chemotherapy or radiation therapy visits.
- Physical exams: Telemedicine may not be suitable for medical conditions that require diagnostic tests, such as X-rays or blood tests. In these cases, an in-person visit may be necessary.
- Surgical procedures: Telemedicine is generally unsuitable for surgical or other invasive treatments requiring hands-on care.
- Mental health conditions: Some mental health conditions may require more intensive treatment or therapy unsuitable for telemedicine. For example, patients with severe depression or anxiety may benefit from in-person therapy sessions.
What Can Telemedicine for Travelers Do?
Telemedicine is a tool that allows healthcare providers to deliver medical care remotely using electronic communication and information technologies. It can be used to provide a range of healthcare services, including:
- Consultations: Telemedicine can be used to connect patients with healthcare providers for consultations, allowing patients to discuss their symptoms, ask questions, and receive medical advice.
- Diagnosis and treatment: Telemedicine can be used to diagnose and treat certain medical conditions, such as common colds and flu, skin rashes, and minor injuries. It can also be used to manage chronic conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, and mental health disorders.
- Follow-up care: Telemedicine can be used to follow up with patients after a hospital stay or a visit to a healthcare provider, allowing providers to monitor the patient’s progress and adjust treatment as needed.
- Education and counseling: Telemedicine can be used to provide patients with education and counseling on various health topics, such as nutrition, exercise, and disease prevention.
- Specialty care: Telemedicine can be used to connect patients with specialists, such as cardiologists, oncologists, and mental health providers, who may not be available in the patient’s local area.
The Current Disadvantages of Telemedicine for Travelers
There are several potential disadvantages to telemedicine, including:
- Limited access: Telemedicine requires access to a computer or smartphone with a stable internet connection, which may not be available to everyone, especially in underserved or rural areas.
- Lack of face-to-face interaction: Some people may prefer in-person visits with their healthcare providers, and telemedicine may not provide the same level of personal interaction.
- Technical difficulties: There is the potential for technical issues to arise during a telemedicine visit, such as problems with the video or audio connection, which can disrupt the visit or make it difficult for the provider to assess the patient properly.
- Limited services: Telemedicine may not be suitable for all types of medical care, and some procedures or treatments may still require an in-person visit.
- Privacy concerns: There are concerns about the privacy and security of personal health information during telemedicine visits, as the information is being transmitted over the internet.
Are you currently using Telemedicine?
Let us know all about it in the comments. Telemedicine for travelers is a quickly changing technology.