How to apply telemedicine in international adoption?

In recent years, there has been a technological revolution in telecommunications, allowing any user, from anywhere in the world, to remotely transmit digitized information via mobile telephony and the Internet. The main objective of telemedicine is the transmission of patient information for consultations, evaluations, diagnoses and treatments.

In order to provide adequate and correct pre-adoptive medical advice to families, the international adoption medicine specialist needs to know as much information as possible about the child’s past, present and living environment.

Medical reports on children placed for intercountry adoption should serve to identify the existence of medical problems, the present or future need for medical evaluations and medical or surgical treatment, and the existence of risk factors that may affect their long-term or irreversible development. However, these reports often provide information that is deficient, scarce and incomplete and, on many occasions, confusing, erroneous or adulterated.

Families choose to personally collect in the country of origin the medical and socio-health data that must be obtained for every child to be adopted abroad and take the audiovisual material. In this way, the state of physical and mental health of their future child can be determined with greater guarantees.

Technological application of telemedicine in international adoption

The family should know that the more and better material they collect and send, the better the advice they will receive. However, they should also bear in mind that, in telecommunications, the farthest away is the one who has the worst line, not the one who has the most kilometers between them. Therefore, before leaving Spain, it is necessary to be familiar with the technology to be used and to carry out technical tests with the professional to determine the modes of operation and to specify the format, size and resolution of the files to be sent.

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With regard to the basic modes of operation, a distinction can be made between synchronous or real-time mode and asynchronous or time-delayed mode, also known as “store and forward”. In both modes, the professional expert must be available 24 hours a day and for as many days as necessary until the study is completed. At the Center for Pediatrics and International Adoption of Zaragoza we use both modalities, with the medical assessment being carried out in minutes or a few hours.