PHILADELPHIA — Penn Medicine today announced a collaboration with software and analytics company Teqqa, LLC that could revolutionize the way antibiotics are tracked and prescribed in clinical settings. The two will work together to develop a new software platform and mobile app that aims to encourage appropriate antibiotic use by providing real-time data to clinicians, and minimize the risk of dangerous pathogens developing resistance to life-saving antibiotics.
The resistance of bacteria to commonly-used antibiotics has been increasing at an alarming rate, and resistance patterns vary internationally, nationally, regionally, and locally. These differences matter — a drug that is effective against a life-threatening bacterial infection at one hospital may be much less effective at another, and appropriate stewardship of antibiotic drugs is essential to slowing the growing resistance.
Understanding these patterns, particularly within a given hospital, is essential to determine the best methods to track, prevent, and treat these infections. Without a clear, real-time and accurate understanding of drug sensitivity and resistance patterns within individual hospitals and the community, however, physicians typically choose antibiotics empirically, potentially contributing to resistance and poor patient outcomes.
“The appropriate use of antibiotics to treat infections depends on knowing what antibiotics kill which bacteria, “ said Keith Hamilton, MD, associate director of Healthcare Epidemiology, Infection Prevention and Control and director of Antimicrobial Stewardship at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. “Predicting and understanding the trends and patterns of resistance allows clinicians to choose appropriate medications to treat a patient’s infection, and provides the health system real, actionable data to make broad recommendations for use of these life-saving drugs.”
As part of the collaboration, Penn Medicine and Teqqa will jointly develop the software to allow for real-time microbiology data analysis, as well as a mobile app giving the user—primarily prescribing physicians—immediate access to this critical information, allowing them to choose the best antibiotics for their patients. This will replace the current practice of providing data to clinicians every 9 to 12 months, where data is nearly obsolete as soon as it is made available.
The project with Teqqa builds upon Penn’s successful Antimicrobial Stewardship Program, which since its inception in 1993 has been shown to improve appropriateness of antibiotic use and cure rates, decrease failure rates, and reduce healthcare-related costs with its multifaceted approach.
“This innovative software has the potential to improve patient outcomes and resistance patterns in hospitals across the country by allowing practitioners to understand the behavior of infections locally, regionally and most importantly, within their healthcare facilities,” said Patrick J. Brennan, MD, chief medical officer for the University of Pennsylvania Health System. “This is an important step in more effectively designing interventions to control and treat these infections.”
“We are thrilled to be working together with Penn Medicine, a leader in antibiotic stewardship and innovation in health care delivery, to develop this novel solution to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance,” said Dan Peterson, MD, CEO of Teqqa. "Penn Medicine's equity position in Teqqa demonstrates both their strong commitment to improving patient outcomes and novel approaches to care delivery, and their desire to benefit from Teqqa's expertise in data analytics and software development to achieve those goals. It’s a great opportunity to work with Penn to develop applications for Penn Medicine and for use more broadly with other health systems."
Editor’s note: Penn has received equity in Teqqa in consideration for its financial support of these studies.
Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.
The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 17 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $409 million awarded in the 2014 fiscal year.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.
Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2014, Penn Medicine provided $771 million to benefit our community.
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