New mobile app will further improve appropriate antibiotic use

A new mobile app, launched at Galway University Hospitals this week, will further improve appropriate antibiotic use, according to Dr Pat Nash, the clinical director of the hospital group.

The launch of the software application for antimicrobial prescribing guidelines co-incided with the intake of 197 non-consultant doctors at the hospital in July.

Dr Nash explained that the antimicrobial stewardship team at the hospital includes microbiologists, infectious diseases physicians and pharmacists.

“The team monitor antibiotic use and resistance, update the antimicrobial prescribing guidelines and support medical, surgical, nursing and pharmacy colleagues in antimicrobial use. The development of the mobile app is the latest innovation to further improve appropriate antibiotic use and I am delighted that we are able to use mobile technology to give our doctors and nurse prescribers easy access to the guidelines at the point of prescribing.”

Prof Martin Cormican, a consultant microbiologist and member of the antimicrobial stewardship team, said antibiotics have helped treat millions of patients with bacterial infections since they were developed more than 60 years ago.

“Many of the advances in modern medicine such as cancer, chemotherapy and organ transplants would not be possible without them. However antibiotics have often been misused; antibiotics are often used when they are not needed and sometimes when antibiotics are needed the antibiotic used may not be the best antibiotic for that situation. We have to take steps to improve the use of antibiotics otherwise we risk squandering one of the most important medical advances of the past 100 years.”

He continued that over the past number of years significant inroads have been made in improving antimicrobial prescribing by developing user friendly guidelines that benefit patient care.

“The mobile app we are launching here today was developed by a team of people to provide a user friendly version of our antimicrobial guidelines which we give to our staff in print format with one version for adults and one for children. The app means that staff have information on the best antibiotic to use for each infection at their fingertips, it is extremely easy to use and it also means that we can update the information very quickly.”

The development of the app was supported by an educational grant from healthcare company MSD. Mick Phelan, its business unit director, said it is committed to providing leading solutions for the benefit of patients.

“So we were delighted to offer our support to this initiative. The app supports delivery of safe and efficient patient care and therefore is aligned with MSD’s own health care priorities.”

He went on to compliment GUH on the use of innovative technology and its willingness to share the core components of the app with other hospitals to support similar objectives.

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