Raising awareness

New app promotes antibiotic stewardship via a game format

The app was developed by the AOA, A.T. Still University and the CDC, and its case reports can be completed for CME credit.

Every year, roughly 2 million people in the U.S. develop antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections and about 23,000 people die from them, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is recognizing U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week Nov. 13-19.

Overuse of antibiotics is the driving factor leading to increases in antibiotic resistance, notes the CDC, which also reports that up to half of all antibiotics prescribed are either unnecessary or not optimally effective when taken as directed.

Prognosis SOMA: Antibiotics

To help combat the overprescribing of antibiotics that leads to antibiotic resistance, the AOA, A.T. Still University and the CDC have worked together to develop a custom medical app, Prognosis SOMA: Antibiotics, that educates clinicians and trainees on antibiotic stewardship via a game based on case reports.

The app is available for Apple and Android devices.

The project is headed by Joy H. Lewis, DO, PhD, professor of medicine and public health at A.T. Still University, School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA), who explains that the game format was designed to entertain while educating.

Promoting discussion

“The game format of the app motivates users to read the explanation page where they can access valuable clinical information and warnings about antibiotic misuse,” Dr. Lewis says. “You can play again and again until you get a perfect score. This deliberate practice helps reinforce the right clinical decisions and appropriate antibiotic prescribing behavior.”

In addition to learning about antibiotic stewardship, DOs who use the app can earn up to 1.5 AOA category 1-B CME credits for completing all six cases, at a rate of 0.25 credits per case.

Dr. Lewis is hopeful that the app will help start conversations among clinicians and trainees on the importance of antibiotic stewardship.

“We have a big problem with inappropriate antibiotic prescribing in the U.S.,” Dr. Lewis says. “Providers are prescribing antibiotics for conditions that don’t require them or they’re prescribing broad-spectrum antibiotics for conditions that could be better treated with narrow spectrum, targeted drugs.

“This app is a small step toward attacking a big problem. The cases it presents can teach some specific practices. I’m hoping the app can also help raise awareness and promote discussion of the importance of antibiotic stewardship.”

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