There's an app for that.

Carly Peters October 21, 2019
Animated graphic showing a patent standing in front of a doctor whose office is a laptop computer.

A new tool from CAA Manitoba brings the doctor to you while you’re travelling.

Mark Currie already knew what the symptoms meant. Itchiness, redness, swelling—the telltale signs of pink eye. Unfortunately, he was travelling in the States, and the over-the-counter meds he could get in Canada were only available with a prescription south of the border. This meant his cherished vacation memories included hours spent in a walkin clinic, waiting for a tube of conjunctivitis cream.

But easy-to-solve afflictions don’t have to spoil your trip. CAA Manitoba now offers directional care, an automatic add-on to CAA’s travel insurance package. The new service uses technology to determine the best course of medical action, no matter where you are in the world.

“A medical issue while you’re travelling can be very emotional,” says Dana Soubra, vice-president of claims at Orion Travel Insurance, CAA Manitoba’s travel insurance provider. “People just want to know they’re going to be taken care of. So we’re always looking to give members the best service and care during a stressful time.”

When using directional care, members can call a 24/7 toll-free line or log onto an app to input their symptoms. Based on that information, users are triaged in one of four ways.

  1. Skype with a doctor. This would have been ideal for Currie; one look at his face through the iPad and the doctor could easily diagnose Currie’s eye condition and provide a prescription. All doctors on the service are licensed and available in multiple languages.
  2. A doctor comes directly to your hotel. A licensed, local doctor will provide hands-on care in the comfort of your room. No need to spend hours waiting in an unfamiliar clinic.
  3. Directions to the nearest clinic. Some treatments will require going to a medical facility. You’ll be given detailed instructions to the nearest walk-in clinic that will provide the level of care required, no matter where you are in the world.
  4. Suggested ER visit. This is a last resort for the service, since it’s intended to address non-emergency medical issues. But should the service suggest going directly to the emergency room, directions will be provided on the next course of action, as well as the location of the closest facility.

“By using directional care, you’re going to get the right level of care,” Soubra says. “It’s also going to save your precious vacation time and prevent unnecessary medical costs.”

Members should download the directional care app before travelling. It’ll provide information on your insurance policy, and the app is the easiest way to utilize the system. Soubra also suggests that members carry their policy travel card—an essential item to ensure you have access to 24-hour care, no matter what the medical emergency, anywhere in the world.