epocrates Launches Bugs + Drugs Tool to Promote Optimal Antibiotic Prescribing

What You Should Know:

– epocrates, an athenahealth, Inc. company that delivers digital clinical decision support to healthcare professionals, today announced the release of Bugs + Drugs, a mobile tool that offers clinicians information about bacteria types and antibacterial susceptibility patterns by ZIP code.

– A free feature in the epocrates mobile app, the tool supports clinicians in choosing appropriate empiric antibiotics for each patient at the point of care.

Data-Driven Tools to Improve Care in the Ambulatory Setting

Since 1998, epocrates, an athenahealth, Inc. company, has served essential, clinical content to more than one million physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals. Centered around unparalleled drug prescribing and safety information, the app provides fast answers and trusted decision support in seconds at the point of care, enabling clinicians to focus on delivering the most effective and personalized patient care.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) pre-pandemic report, antibiotic-resistant infections exceed 2.8 million annually in the United States, resulting in more than 35,000 deaths annually. To address the growing threat of resistance, one key tenet of antimicrobial stewardship involves factoring local resistance and susceptibility patterns into antibiotic prescribing decisions. Inpatient settings typically publish bacterial susceptibility data relevant to their hospital; however, antimicrobial susceptibility data are not widely aggregated and made publicly available in the outpatient setting. Without such data, clinicians must rely on their empirical knowledge to make antibiotic prescribing selections. Decisions made for individual patients hold the potential to fuel bacterial resistance trends for the future.

The tool’s features include a list of bacteria observed in urine, skin, and other sample types aggregated by ZIP code. For each organism, the tool presents relevant antibiotic drug options with corresponding susceptibilities, linked seamlessly to epocrates’ trusted drug content, which includes dosing, drug interaction details, and safety information.

“At a time when antimicrobial resistance is on the rise, Bugs + Drugs fills a major gap in the outpatient setting. Historically, clinicians have had to make educated guesses about the prevalence of various bacteria and whether those organisms are susceptible or resistant to various antibiotics, and they generally err on the side of prescribing antibiotics that are too broad,” said Anne Meneghetti, MD, executive director of Medical Information, epocrates. “With Bugs + Drugs, clinicians now have an innovative, digital tool in their pocket that offers localized susceptibility data needed to confidently make informed and effective point-of-care decisions for patients through knowledge of the bacteria prevalent in their patient’s community.”

Bugs + Drugs’ methods and apparatus for tracking antimicrobial susceptibility based on geography is a patented process. The data are sourced from de-identified microbiology data from athenaClinicals, athenahealth’s cloud-based electronic health record, used predominantly by ambulatory care organizations. With a nationwide network of more than 145,000 clinicians and serving approximately 20% of the U.S. population, athenahealth provides insights from vast data that enable a unique and extensive view into health trends to support optimal decision-making at the point of care.

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