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New "Epocrates Bugs + Drugs" App Harnesses Big Data For Better, Personalized Patient Care

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Oct. 2, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- According to a report recently issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year more than two million people in the U.S. contract infections that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die as a result. Antibiotic resistant bacteria or "superbugs" such as resistant E. coli and staph are of great concern because they are increasingly impervious to typical antibiotics. To compound the problem, many clinicians who work outside of hospitals are unaware of the bacteria types pervasive in their local areas. Today, from the 7th Annual Health 2.0 Conference in Santa Clara, California, athenahealth, Inc. (Nasdaq:ATHN) and Epocrates together announced a new, free mobile app, "Epocrates Bugs + Drugs," to arm clinicians with timely geolocated information about bacteria types and resistance patterns, and to support appropriate antibiotic prescribing.

"Epocrates Bugs + Drugs is a game-changer in the clinical toolbox. Traditionally, hospitals have tracked resistance trends on inpatients. Now, Bugs + Drugs goes beyond the hospital setting, transforming lab results from athenahealth's cloud-based EHR database of 15 million patients into geotargeted data to help physicians identify common and uncommon bugs in the communities where their patients live. Clinicians can access critical resistance information to formulate the best treatment plan.  It's one step closer to personalized medicine," said Dr. Anne Meneghetti, Executive Director of Medical Information at Epocrates, an athenahealth company. "This app is a perfect example of pairing athenahealth's big data with Epocrates' mobile expertise to better equip caregivers to make confident and efficient decisions in the moments of care. Decisions made in those moments can affect future antibiotic resistance for the entire population." 

"The convenience of this app with its localized content provides great insights from an infectious diseases perspective. The real-time, geographic-specific information of the proportions of specific organisms for a particular type of infection and the susceptibility profiles of those organisms allows for more prudent use of antibiotics, which is a major benefit to the patient and the health system," said Dr. Rajesh Gupta, Infectious Disease Specialist.

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