Moving from place to place involves the safe-keeping of your personal and family medical records. It is imperative to realise as soon as possible that only written reports matter when it comes to creating continuity between doctors from different countries, considering different backgrounds and medical training.
Records to keep track of include (but are not limited to):
- X-rays (make sure you ask for copies of the important exams prior to leaving a location);
- Vaccinations (the vaccine type should be reported in the "International Certificates of Vaccination" booklet, including date, signature and professional status of vaccinator as well as the approved stamp)
- If there is a pre-existing condition or chronic illness make sure you have all the files with you as well as any current treatment or therapy (name of medication, active ingredients and dosage) or proposed action to be taken.
- If you are travelling to countries where medical assistance and availability of medications is in question, ask your doctor to give you medication for a certain length of time (check the expiry date).
- Prescription Records are important too as medications are often called different things from one country to another.
Enquire about the possibility of having prescriptions made up from other locations and mailed to you (in the event of difficulty acquiring specific medication).
Useful facts to record
Keep track of your wellness or health check-ups and always have a copy of any check-ups in your health file.
Doctors (and pediatricians in particular) keep a log of each visit you make. Ask for a copy of those files.
Record any specific problem (allergies, intolerance, etc.) and if a condition is life-threatening make sure you have it detailed on a laminated card that you carry with you and where possible on a bracelet or medallion.
Many services are being developed to tackle the health issues for mobile people and recently, central databases have been created to maintain medical records together with tele-medicine services. This allows for the provision of doctor support, especially for people relocated to remote areas, to advise, recommend and assist where treatment may be necessary.
As the evolution continues in this area, this sector will be reviewed.