TWO tech-savvy pharmacists at Basildon University Hospital have created a smartphone app to improve patient safety by giving clinical staff fast and easy access to guidelines on antibiotic prescribing.
Abi Ogundana and Cassie Pang, microbial pharmacists, wanted to find a new way to help their colleagues follow important prescribing guidelines for patients who need antibiotics.
Cassie explains: “Guidelines are available on the Trust intranet, but of course it’s not always possible for clinical staff to access a PC. We also have a paper pocket guide, which people often lose, but they tend to be more careful with their phones.”
The pair approached Rx Guidelines, a medical information company that offers clinicians the ability to build their own applications. Abi and Cassie got to work with the user guide, and conferred with hospital colleagues in infection control, pharmacy, medicines management, and the IT department.
Within four months, the new app was ready to be piloted with a group of pharmacists and doctors. Initial feedback was extremely positive, with 100% of responses saying the app was fast and easy to download and use. Abi and Cassie made a number of modifications to improve the app in response to suggestions.
Essential information in the prescribing guidelines includes guidance on the treatment of sepsis, meningitis, respiratory and urinary infection, along with a warning about penicillin allergies.
Dr Darren Fernandes (pictured left), a core medical trainee, is enthusiastic about using the prescribing app. He said: “Basildon is the second hospital I have worked at. Antibiotic prescribing can vary according to location, due to differences in the resistance of bacteria, so it was important to familiarise myself with the guidelines here.
“We were given leaflets, but they get torn and lost easily, and it can be hard to get to a PC to find the guidelines on the intranet. The prescribing app is easy to access and it’s very useful to be able to immediately check the correct antibiotics and doses.”
Abi said: “I have wanted to create this app since I began working here last August. We had fun doing it, and we are both competent with IT, although there were times when we could have thrown our PCs into the bin! ”
Jane Giles, chief pharmacist, said: “Antibiotics are lifesaving medicines when used appropriately, however resistance to antibiotics is a real problem. This app gives prescribers the most up-to-date local information in a convenient format, enabling patients to receive the best possible evidence-based care. It is an important asset for clinicians and patients alike.”
The app can be accessed via iOS and Android smartphones.