TOURIST2 - Tracking of urgent risks in swiss travellers to the 6 main travel destinations - Feasibility and ethical considerations of a smartphone application-based study

Travel Med Infect Dis. 2021 Jan-Feb;39:101912. doi: 10.1016/j.tmaid.2020.101912. Epub 2020 Nov 7.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Smartphone*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Switzerland
  • Travel
  • Young Adult