Abstract

The increasing interest in practising medicine overseas has outpaced research conducted to evaluate its effectiveness and the development of guidelines from evidence-based best practices. Short-term medical teams regularly travel to provide medical care, yet there is little research on the impact or practices of these missions. This study assessed current practices and challenges of short-term medical service teams, using questionnaire-based interviews of 40 participants in recent medical service trips. Study results and a review of recommendations in peer-reviewed journals were used to develop guidelines for international short-term medical trips in relation to mission, collaboration, education and capacity building, provider qualifications, appropriate donations, and cultural sensitivity and understanding. Guidelines that inform models, approaches, best practices and minimum standards for short-term medical service trips should be adopted so that improved and sustainable outcomes can be consistently achieved.