Travel, Technology and Healthcare

Recently I had the privilege of speaking at the Hypnosis: New Generation conference in Budapest. We took some extra time and went to Vienna for a few days. Unfortunately one of our party became seriously ill requiring medical attention. This is when the challenges of travel in a foreign country become daunting.

Healthcare here at home is increasingly technology dependent from diagnostics to on-line accessible health records. There are certain downsides to this, but the upsides are equal to or outweigh them. For dinosaurs and Luddites like me, the value will become apparent.

Thankfully we are in the digital age. Not only is my smart phone well equipped with apps, but my laptop was also at hand.  Our Viennese residence had WiFi as one of its features enabling us to find a service that guided us to an English speaking physician. The Austrian system, not unlike our own, has the general physician act as the gate keeper. Once a preliminary differential diagnosis (the most likely possible problems leading to the apparent symptoms) was determined, he called the most appropriate hospital emergency room (Kankenhaus der Barmherzigen Brüder) to arrange follow up imaging and care, and gave us documents in German to speed the process. The staff at the hospital had knowledge of English from the rudimentary to superb making communication possible at a stressful time.

All of this searching, phone calls and directions took place on- line with a mobile phone and the laptop computer. Not only did this capability allow us to translate web pages into English, but it gave explanations of ‘how to’ in an alien health care system. Navigation was also enhanced by the Google Maps allowing us to easily find locations.

When travelling, I highly recommend that  you minimally carry a smart phone;  a tablet or a laptop gives you more capabilities along with the phone.  If nothing else, scout out the health care system before leaving for your trip. Never leave the country without good travel insurance, and consider belonging to groups like IAMAT (International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers) for assistance when necessary.

Also, never forget your toothbrush and floss! Floss has many uses beyond keeping your pearly whites gleaming.

Remember Oral Wellness, Whole Health!
















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