Appendix A: Promoting Quality in the Practice of Travel Medicine

Appendix A: Promoting Quality in the Practice of Travel Medicine is a topic covered in the CDC Yellow Book.

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Travel medicine remains a young area of medical practice, even as the field continues to mature based on a growing body of scientific and medical information. There is only a limited number of recognized travel medicine specialty or subspecialty programs around the world and none in the United States. Thus, clinicians offering travel medicine services are not “board certified” in travel medicine and are instead certified in other disciplines such as infectious diseases, internal medicine, pediatrics, nursing, pharmacy, and family practice. Clinics in the United States that offer travel medicine services are also not specifically credentialed for this activity. However, training opportunities and certification programs are available for interested clinicians through travel medicine professional organizations.

Although research on quality of travel health care is limited, several studies suggest that travelers who visit a clinician with training in travel medicine are more likely to receive pretravel and posttravel advice and care than those who see clinicians without such training. The 2006 guidelines on travel medicine published by the Infectious Diseases Society of America also recommend travelers seek pretravel and posttravel care from a clinician with expertise in travel medicine. This is especially important for travelers who are going to exotic destinations, engaging in adventure travel, or have special needs or preexisting medical conditions.

Providers can pursue training in travel medicine through a number of professional organizations. Providers may also look to the courses hosted by members of the International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM), notably those in the United States, Canada, Ireland, Scotland, and Switzerland. They vary in length from days to a year, depending upon the depth of the course and credential offered. Many people looking for training beyond the textbook may do so informally by spending time in a travel clinic learning how to provide a pretravel consultation. Posttravel care typically involves infectious disease and tropical medicine training.

Below is a partial list of resources for clinicians who wish to enhance their knowledge of travel medicine. People seeking travel-related medical services may want to inquire whether their provider or clinic participates in these organizations or activities.

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Travel medicine remains a young area of medical practice, even as the field continues to mature based on a growing body of scientific and medical information. There is only a limited number of recognized travel medicine specialty or subspecialty programs around the world and none in the United States. Thus, clinicians offering travel medicine services are not “board certified” in travel medicine and are instead certified in other disciplines such as infectious diseases, internal medicine, pediatrics, nursing, pharmacy, and family practice. Clinics in the United States that offer travel medicine services are also not specifically credentialed for this activity. However, training opportunities and certification programs are available for interested clinicians through travel medicine professional organizations.

Although research on quality of travel health care is limited, several studies suggest that travelers who visit a clinician with training in travel medicine are more likely to receive pretravel and posttravel advice and care than those who see clinicians without such training. The 2006 guidelines on travel medicine published by the Infectious Diseases Society of America also recommend travelers seek pretravel and posttravel care from a clinician with expertise in travel medicine. This is especially important for travelers who are going to exotic destinations, engaging in adventure travel, or have special needs or preexisting medical conditions.

Providers can pursue training in travel medicine through a number of professional organizations. Providers may also look to the courses hosted by members of the International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM), notably those in the United States, Canada, Ireland, Scotland, and Switzerland. They vary in length from days to a year, depending upon the depth of the course and credential offered. Many people looking for training beyond the textbook may do so informally by spending time in a travel clinic learning how to provide a pretravel consultation. Posttravel care typically involves infectious disease and tropical medicine training.

Below is a partial list of resources for clinicians who wish to enhance their knowledge of travel medicine. People seeking travel-related medical services may want to inquire whether their provider or clinic participates in these organizations or activities.

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