Doctor develops wireless 'medicine cloud' to treat infections

A wireless ‘medicine cloud’ developed by an intensive care expert at UHS is set to revolutionise the way doctors treat patients with infections in the UK.

The idea follows the success of pioneering smartphone app the MicroGuide, designed by specialists at Southampton General Hospital to provide personalised decision-making support at the bedside on common infections and which antibiotics are needed to tackle them.

“As any hospital trust can set up its own infection app specific to its own guidelines, we want them to be able to upload that data to a central ‘cloud’ which will push the data back to the individual users following a common pathway,” said Dr Sanjay Gupta, a consultant in critical care.

MicroGuide can be used to guide treatment of in-hospital infections including meningitis, pneumonia and urinary tract infection and also incorporates dosing calculators and advice on handling and resolving cases of MRSA.

And, as individual trusts have different advice for staff on which drugs should be used to treat certain common infections, the app’s ‘location aware’ feature ensures the appropriate guidance is available immediately.

Dr Gupta explained: “The location feature means locums and multi-site clinicians will be prompted to switch over to a specific trust’s guidelines whenever they enter another hospital rather than use a different trust’s guidelines on drugs and dosage.

“If you looked locally, it would be a case of a doctor being able to leave Southampton and head into Portsmouth, where they will be able to adhere to that trust’s guidelines, then go to Winchester and switch again – it really will revolutionise the treatment of infections.”

The app will also be the first in the world to incorporate specific requirements of individual hospitals into one product and update automatically when it is tapped by a smartphone user rather than rely on a physical prompt to upload new data.

“Any staff with smartphones will then be able to download the MicroGuide app specific to their hospital because the data is stored centrally in the ‘cloud’. Any amendments or additions made by a trust will automatically update when a user next launches the app on their phone,” added Dr Gupta.

He is now appealing to other trusts in the UK to participate in a pilot development of the infection ’cloud’ before an eventual nationwide rollout and can be contacted via email at sanjay.gupta@uhs.nhs.uk

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Page comments

Excellent. A great innovation.
Hari & Krishna (11/06/2012 19:28:26)
Thankyou, makes sense now.
Jim (01/06/2012 12:40:02)
Well done!
Simeon Agbonkhina (28/05/2012 12:29:36)
Different hospitals often have slight variations in prescribing guidelines, particularly when it comes to treating infections for many reasons. Though we are all the same human bodies, infecting organisms develop different resistance patterns over varying periods of time in different locations. So it is crucial that even though our decision process and reasoning is the same everywhere, location specific antibiotic prescribing makes us more effective. Also, there may be commercial reasons in an open market, why different hospitals hold different formularies.
Sanjay Gupta (26/05/2012 15:07:47)
Excellent idea and very innovative.
bala (25/05/2012 14:15:27)
Good to see technology put to a wider use. Although seems rather odd that hospitals have 'different advice for staff' when treating illnesses, surely its the same illness wherever one is located and has the same treatments?
Jim (25/05/2012 13:24:48)

MicroGuide graphic - the cloud