Discuss: The Challenge of Long Distance Doctor Visits

A recent poll here at Headache and Migraine News highlights a challenge that we don’t often talk about. It’s this – we often have to travel, sometimes quite a distance, to see a doctor or specialist.

Boy with mapAs nice as it would be to live in a big city with excellent migraine or headache specialists, that is not the reality for many. In fact, everyone who took our poll has had to travel at least to another town or city in order for treatment or consultation.

A little less than half at least didn’t have to travel too far – a nearby town or city was the farthest they had gone.

But 52% travelled farther. 40% travelled out of their home state or province. 12% travelled out of the country – with half of those actually going to another hemisphere!

Some people would benefit greatly from travelling to see another specialist, but they simply can’t afford the expense. Many headache disorders are complex, requiring multiple visits to the specialist just to get a good handle on a proper diagnosis.

Not only is there the cost, there’s the time. And the fact that travel can end up triggering symptoms, making travel a very painful option to someone already suffering from a lot of pain.

What can be done about this problem? Thankfully, there is more information and education available than ever before. Doctors have the opportunity to get more good information and training, so that more doctors with more knowledge are available. Plus, patients are learning to become savvy investigators themselves.

Also, with video conferencing and cheap phone calls, and apps and computerized data sharing, it’s becoming more possible for specialists to help patients from a distance.

If you’re travelling to see a specialist, one of the first things you should do is see what options are available for follow up. Your doctor may be willing to help you from a distance at least part of the time.

If you have felt the need to travel a fair distance to see a doctor for a headache condition, how have you minimized the problems? Share your ideas with us!

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