Antimicrobial Resistance poses a major global threat to human life. By 2050 it is estimated 10 million people a year will die due to Antimicrobial resistance. In the UK alone it is currently believed 50% of all antimicrobial use in hospitals is inappropriate. But Impact Venture, Horizon, are fighting back – to ensure we have antibiotics that will work in the future!
What is Antimicrobial Resistance?
According to The World Health Organisation, Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) occurs when microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change in ways that render the medications used to cure the infections they cause ineffective. When the microorganisms become resistant to most antimicrobials they are often referred to as “superbugs”.
Why is it so important?
Before antibiotics, about 40% of people who got infections died, now it is just 7%. The most basic of operations such as having an appendix removed will become dangerous, even child birth could once again become a life-threatening moment in a woman’s life. The World Health Organization has warned that “many common infections will no longer have a cure and, once again, could kill unabated”.
What are we doing about it?
Prescribing the right antibiotics only when they are needed is one of the best ways to fight AMR. Hospitals are high pressure environments where it can sometimes be very difficult to find the correct information or even the right person to treat patients. Horizon are trying to help solve this problem by building software that makes accessing critical information such as antimicrobial prescribing guidelines easier.
In 2012 in conjunction with University Hospitals Southampton, Horizon launched a mobile app called MicroGuide, which has since become one of the most downloaded Medical apps in the UK, with over 100,000 active users. MicroGuide allows medical professionals to access their hospital’s unique prescribing guidelines via an easy to use mobile app. Efficient access to guidelines means healthcare professionals can treat their patients effectively and ensure drugs that are being prescribed to the patient are correct. MicroGuide helps turn complicated and long PDF documents into concise snippets of information which can be accessed at the point of patient care. In an era of increased pressure on healthcare services due to aging populations and budget cuts, our software provides an effective and affordable solution to day-to-day problems experienced by healthcare professionals.
In 2016, Horizon worked with Public Health England to build a Point Prevalence Survey system that is used to collect data on drug usage and prescribing in hospitals throughout England. Over 50,000 patients prescribing records were collected over a 5-month period shedding light on how antimicrobials are used across the country. This data will be used by Public Health England and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control to help determine policies and guidelines moving forward.
Here at Horizon Horizon are passionate about providing solutions to every day healthcare problems. To find out more about our work and products visit our website http://horizonsp.co.uk/