Virtual Health: Taking Care of Retirement Abroad

By on February 15, 2018
Virtual Health: Taking Care of Retirement Abroad

It isn’t hard to see why so many people choose to retire to sunnier climates. Relocating to places like Mexico, Thailand or Spain is a great way to live well for less, enjoying good food and sunshine in your own piece of paradise.

But for many, moving away from a country you’ve always called home comes with its own set of challenges – and for couples and solo expeditioners in retirement, healthcare concerns can be top of the list. Will the quality of care be as good as it was back home? Will the doctors have the same levels of expertise? Destinations like Belize and Ecuador that have excellent perks for expat retirees simply don’t have the widely available, high-standard healthcare that most of us are used to, but that doesn’t stop them from being that little bit more enticing than the option of staying put.

Falling ill and needing care are not something we’re keen to focus on when we’re planning a great escape, but thankfully there are now easy ways to stay connected with the very best services when they’re needed.

The term ‘virtual health’ might not mean a lot just yet, but this innovation in healthcare is the missing piece between international living and world-class wellness. Nowadays we shop, socialise and keep up with the news through mobile apps and websites – and through virtual health, these same pieces of technology can connect us with the health services we need even when we’re far from ‘home’. So how does it work?

Virtual health service includes things like:
• Video consultation
• Diagnosis
• Physical specialist visits
• Online test result access
• Transport bookings
• Medication deliveries

Starting via video consultations with trustworthy, highly skilled GPs over the phone, virtual health services can take you through every step of primary care. If a diagnosis can’t be made without a physical check, your doctor can arrange for a specialist visit and any necessary tests – results are then available to your doctor online as soon as they’ve been processed.

Through apps, the doctor can arrange transport for you to get to the best medical facility for your needs, or organise prescriptions. For users with chronic conditions like diabetes, there’s the opportunity for more efficient monitoring and management through regular video check-ups. This can also reduce your insurance costs, which makes all the difference when you’re paying for long-term health insurance overseas.

Home care and medical availability are often listed as some of the most important things to consider when you’re planning a retirement location – but this can limit your prospects to a small pool of places, and your dream destination might not feature. While it’s wise to make sure there are medical facilities within easy reach, virtual health helps to grow the list of possible destinations for your new home by ensuring that the very best healthcare options are only a phone call away.

Even in remote and rural destinations, the highest quality patient care is made available without everyday limitations. The technology is easy to access, not requiring anything more than your usual smartphone or computer – but of course while technology helps to supply the service, the most important feature is the care itself.


For more information about virtual health, see Aetna International’s website or watch their Virtual Care video above.

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Virtual Health: Taking Care of Retirement Abroad