Our Technology & Facilities

telemedTelemedicine is a method of conducting a traditional face-to-face doctor visit via real-time video conference. With high-speed internet, high-definition video, and state-of-the-art Bluetooth medical equipment, specialists can treat patients virtually anywhere without the need for travel. Telemedicine provides a cost-effective means of transcending the barriers to care faced by rural Alabamians living with HIV/AIDS.

In rural Alabama, accessing expert HIV medical care is complicated by poverty, stigma, and a lack of transportation. With telemedicine, MAO provides access to medical care in rural clinics through video teleconference – drastically reducing the burden of travel and related expenses.

At the end of 2012, nearly 12,000 Alabamians were known to be living with HIV. The CDC estimates that 18% of those infected are unaware of their status. This could mean there are an additional 2,000 to 4,000 undiagnosed HIV-positive Alabama residents.

In addition to the high number of HIV diagnoses in Alabama, the state also faces a health professional shortage. Of Alabama’s 67 counties, 62 are designated as Health Professional Shortage Areas. There are only 57 Infectious Disease doctors and only three American Academy of HIV Medicine credentialed physicians in the state of Alabama. This equates to roughly one expert per 80,000 Alabamians, and these specialists are typically located in metropolitan areas making it difficult for patients in rural areas to access care.

Poverty is perhaps the biggest barrier faced by individuals with HIV in Alabama. Of Alabama’s 67 counties, 46 have poverty rates that are higher than the national average. Travelling long distances to a specialist places a huge burden on rural Alabamians who often have limited means of transportation.

Telemedicine provides a cost-effective means of providing care to individuals living with HIV in rural Alabama.

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Through a partnership with Alabama eHealth, MAO has placed clinics in Selma, Sipsey, and Florence. Our hub sites are located in Montgomery, Tuscaloosa, and Huntsville.

As part of our goal to build a statewide telemedicine network, MAO has plans to expand to Troy, Clayton and the Wiregrass area with a hub in Dothan.

By making it more convenient for our patients to access care closer to home, MAO has kept 92% of our telemedicine patients enrolled in continuous care.