Background: The adoption of mHealth technology in travel medicine is a relatively new and unexplored field. We have further developed a TRAVEL application (app) for real-time data monitoring during travel. In this manuscript we report on the feasibility using this new app in a large and diverse cohort of travellers to three continents.
Methods: We enrolled 1000 participants from the travel clinics of Zurich and Basel, Switzerland, aged ≥18 years, travelling to Thailand, India, China, Tanzania, Brazil and Peru between 09/2017-01/2019. Participants included healthy travellers, individuals with pre-existing chronic diseases and elderly travellers (≥60 years). Participants completed an app-based daily survey on risk behaviours/health incidents pre-, during and after travel. Simultaneously, GPS locations were tightly collected and linked to environmental data.
Results: 793 (79%) travellers answered at least one questionnaire during their trip. Participants' median age was 34 years (range 18-84 years); 8% were aged ≥60 years; 55% female; 32% had pre-existing chronic diseases. Completion rates were similar in younger and elderly travellers and in those with and without pre-existing diseases.
Conclusions: The use of a smartphone app is a feasible method for collecting behavioural and health data in elderly travellers and individuals with chronic diseases travelling to three continents.
Keywords: Epidemiology; Health behaviour; Travel app; Travel medicine; mHealth.
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