Hospital develops first 'sat nav' smartphone app to tackle infection


Infectious diseases specialists based at Southampton’s university hospitals have developed a revolutionary smartphone application likened to a ‘sat nav for medicine’ to help clinicians treat patients with infections.

The MicroGuide app, developed by critical care expert Dr Sanjay Gupta, pharmacist Dr Kieran Hand and microbiologist Dr Adriana Basarab at Southampton General Hospital, provides concise information on common infections and which antibiotics are needed to tackle them.

It is the first medical app in the UK to offer personalised decision-making support at the bedside – something not possible through paper documents currently available on hospital wards.

“This app is designed to provide practical decision support for medical staff at the point of care when treating patients with infection in situations not in their immediate area of expertise,” said Dr Hand, who specialises in anti-infectives.

“Users can quickly establish each patient’s risk of infection caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, as well as how severely ill the patient is, and are then given an indication of the most appropriate therapy choices tailored to the individual and the affected part of the body."

The app can be used to guide treatment of in-hospital infections including meningitis, pneumonia and urinary tract infection. It also incorporates dosing calculators and advice on handling and resolving cases of MRSA, risk factors associated with Clostridium difficile and guidance on penicillin allergy.

Dr Gupta added: “In contrast to other healthcare apps currently available, this is not only an educational learning tool but also an interactive aid to decisions being made by doctors and pharmacists on the wards that directly affect the treatment pathway of their patients.

“It’s a bit like using a sat nav – most people know how to drive and are familiar with the roads around where they live but use a sat nav for directions in unfamiliar places.

“This app provides step-by-step directions to guide treatment in complex circumstances, unlike reading instructional passages from lengthy textbooks."

The MicroGuide, which was developed in response to appeals from junior doctors at Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust for guidelines in smartphone format, is currently available for download on the iPhone, iPad and Android as a native app, which means it sits on the mobile device and does not require internet connection for use.

Posted on Friday 29 July 2011