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AU and UA Professors helping rural Alabama residents receive better healthcare with Telemedicine


Technology has become a major form of communication in our society.

Professors at Auburn University and the University of Alabama have joined forces to try and connect residents of rural Alabama to their doctors without having to travel long distances with Telemedicine.

"It provides a connection, a remote connection, between a specialist in a city hospital and a patient who lives in a rural community far away from that hospital," explains Dr. Rafay Isfaq, AU Assistant Professor of Supply Chain Management.

Ishfaq and his team applied supply chain and business analytics principles in research that introduces telemedicine to the public.

Beyond the video link there are now medical devices that are web enabled and can connect the patient to the specialist.

"These devices can take your blood pressure, they can take your heart rate, they can do a MRI scan for you and then send the data to this medical specialist without the need of the specialist to drive to the patient," says Ishfaq.

The team identified nine counties in Alabama best suited for telemedicine centers, based on population and distance to larger cities with greater care opportunities."

These counties are St. Clair, Cullmen, Dekalb, Walker, Jackson, Marengo, Clarke, Covington and Franklin.

Researchers are able to connect state level information with county level information and estimate which diseases are most prevalent in each county.

"This technique and this estimation allows us to now pinpoint where we can setup a smaller number of telemedicine centers and still ensure a wide access of coverage for our rural patients," says Isfaq.

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