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February 25, 2019 | by  | in News |
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VUW CompSci Student Helping in Fight Against Superbugs

A Victoria University student has created an app to help limit the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The Capital and Coast District Health Board (CCDHB) Infection Services collaborated with Mansour Javaher, a software engineering student, to develop the app.

The app, named “Empiric,” was part of Javaher’s Honours degree and based on CCDHB’s infection protocols.

Empiric is largely an administrative aid, keeping track of “what antibiotic was administered by which doctor, when, under which condition, and […] the clinical response,” said James Quilty, director of the Engineering Programme and Javaher’s Honours supervisor.

Specifically, the app replaces previous protocols by customising treatment plans.

It asks those prescribing antibiotics questions about the patient and their course of care to calculate drug dosages. This should reduce antibiotic resistance developing in bacteria.

Data from the app is stored on a secure server hosted by database service Mongo DB, which is integrated with the District Health Board’s systems.

Empiric has been a success so far. Dr Michelle Balm, head of CCDHB Infection Services, said in a press release that, “since it was launched it has been downloaded 700 times outside of CCDHB.”

“Infection specialists around New Zealand and the Pacific Islands are also interested in adopting the ‘Empiric’ format for their antibiotic guidelines.”

The flexibility and personalised treatment plans allowed by Empiric lend to its scalability.

“We allow any other hospital to import their local data and start publishing their version of Empiric for their local use in other countries,” Javaher said to Salient.

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