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App for nervous travellers

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A new mobile application which provides business travellers with instant access to the latest location-specific medical and security alerts has been launched by healthcare company, International SOS.

Using the Pyxis Mobile platform, the app integrates with ISOS’ proprietary security and medical information systems, as well as its global alarm centre network, and is supported on all leading smartphones, including iPhone, BlackBerry and Android.

The application was developed to help organisations fulfil their Duty of Care – a company’s obligation to protect its employees from risks ‚ as safeguarding employees who travel abroad to high-risk locations on behalf of their employer is an increasingly complex task.

‚Even in so-called low-risk destinations, business travellers can be affected by medical conditions, accidents, natural disasters, or political unrest. The app enables companies to protect their business travellers from such threats by extending their travel risk management capabilities directly into the hands of their employees,‚ explains International SOS MD, South Africa, Jason Krause.

‚Increasing your level of safety, comfort and efficiency when travelling starts with being informed, and this new app is a powerful medium to do just that. In addition, it gives those charged with travellers’ safety a better tool to keep them healthy, safe and secure,‚ adds Krause.

The mobile app quickly connects business travellers to International SOS around the world, including a one-click dial for help from the nearest Alarm Centre.

Features include:

– The latest medical and security alerts according to location

– Quick dial for immediate assistance whenever help or advice is needed

– Access to existing membership online services

– Immediate retrieval of membership number for faster alarm centre assistance

– Access to International SOS’ global network of 68,000 professionals, including established providers, clinics, alarm centres, air ambulances, medical specialists, and security, aviation, or logistics personnel.

When planning a business trip, there are some key considerations to take into account. These include:

Does your destination have high medical or security risks?

Is your destination in a remote area?

Are there multiple destinations on your trip?

Are you currently taking medication or have a health issue?

Have you ever been to this destination before?

Do you speak the local language?

Is there an active medical or security alert on your destination or on a leg of your journey?

According to Krause, there are five categories when it comes to country risk: Low, Moderate, High, Extreme and Variable. It should be noted that cities and countries have different risk profiles, for example in many developing countries, the medical risk is low or moderate in the more developed cities, but high in other areas.

Depending on the risk level of the business destination, travellers can receive medical alerts, security alerts, pre-trip medical advice, vaccinations, medical risk ratings, emergency contact numbers, cultural tips, voltage and plug information and weather details.

Some of these alerts could include extreme weather: problems with road and rail infrastructure, such as washed away roads, traffic jams and poor infrastructure: threats of strikes from airlines and other industrial action: disease outbreaks: threats of terrorism, including whether Westerners or Western companies will be targeted: and heightened security at check points, such as airports or train stations.

‚Given the turbulent state of many countries around the globe, the security and medical threats are unfortunately very real for business travellers. As the vast majority of business travellers have smartphones however, we are confident that this app will enable our clients to mitigate against some of these risks‚ , concludes Krause.

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