February 4, 2003
MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Stephenson
Johns Hopkins Launches Infectious Disease Guide on BlackBerry Wireless Handhelds
Guide Nominated for Nettie Award for Innovation
Johns Hopkins' popular ABX (antibiotic treatment) Guide, currently used on mobile communications devices and personal computers by more than 115,000 registered individuals, is now available on BlackBerry Wireless Handhelds from Research In Motion (RIM).
The first of a series of guides to be developed by Hopkins' Point of Care Information Technology (POC-IT) enterprise, the ABX Guide capitalizes on the growing popularity among medical professionals of handheld wireless devices, the need for rapid access to accurate medical information, and worldwide concern over antibiotic drug resistance, medication errors and the inappropriate prescription of these drugs.
The ABX Guide, offered free on the World Wide Web (www.hopkins-abxguide.org), provides information to specialists and primary care physicians on more than 175 diseases, 215 drugs and 125 pathogens. Recently, information relating to smallpox vaccinations was added. All entries in the ABX Guide are made, peer reviewed and annotated by experts in each particular disease category and reviewed by pharmacists and physician practitioners. The Guide is regularly updated based on ongoing review of 42 medical journals.
With the patented wireless "push" technology incorporated in the BlackBerry platform, the latest antibiotic information updates, as well as details of U.S. Food and Drug Administration recalls, can be delivered wirelessly to BlackBerry handhelds, eliminating the need to download the information from a computer.
"Busy clinicians need efficient mobile solutions that require little effort and ensure currency," said Paul Auwaerter, M.D., managing editor of the ABX Guide. "Using the ABX Guide on BlackBerry wireless handhelds provides truly up-to-date, essential and trusted source medical information at the point of clinical decision-making."
"Wireless technology continues to play an important role in the health care profession, and modern-day physicians are going beyond simple cell phones and pagers," said Mark Guibert, vice president of brand management at Research In Motion. "Johns Hopkins' ABX Guide is a leading example of how the health care industry can leverage the power of next-generation wireless networks and advanced handhelds to support medical professionals and enhance their processes."
The ABX Guide is the first in a planned series of easily navigated, always up-to-date, digital medical specialty information resources produced by POC-IT's Hopkins experts. Users, including non-physicians, get wireless access to the most current scientific information on antibiotic use. The system is designed to help physicians cope with the estimated 1,500 antibiotic treatment guidelines that government agencies and medical organizations have developed over the years in an effort to promote best practices, according to John G. Bartlett, M.D., chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Hopkins and senior editor of the ABX Guide.
According to Bartlett, of the approximately 5,500 practicing infectious disease physicians in the United States, about one-half are registered users of the ABX Guide. "These numbers strongly suggest that the ABX Guide is responding to a need among physicians for instant, state-of-the-art antibiotic information," he said.
During last year's anthrax attack, POC-IT application engineers documented a surge in use among heath care professionals seeking information on the main drugs used to treat anthrax exposure, ciprofloxacin and doxycycline, Bartlett added.
New guides in development, which will be available to BlackBerry users as well, will cover bioweapons, HIV disease, critical care medicine, and pharmaceutical drugs.
A significant feature of the ABX Guide and other planned guides is the ability to gather information anonymously from registered users. "This information can be used to compile a database of prescribing behavior and antibiotic usage trends that reflect how specific diseases are being treated in different settings throughout the country," said Sharon McAvinue, POC-IT director. "This data could be of great value in alerting practitioners and public health officials to potential public health problems."
Salar Inc. performed the software engineering to permit the integration of the ABX Guide data with the BlackBerry platform, and Primate Inc. developed the ABX Guide application for the BlackBerry handheld.
Earlier this month, the ABX Guide was nominated for the Nettie Award, given by MD Net Guide to "honor the pioneers of the medical Internet." The nomination calls the ABX Guide a system that "delivers precisely what its title promises: specific and detailed information, news and literature analysis related to the use of antibiotics."
The ABX Guide is available to users of Palm OS PDAs.Johns Hopkins Medicine, established in 1995 to unite Hopkins' biomedical research, clinical, teaching and business enterprises, brings together The Johns Hopkins University School of Me dicine and its faculty with the facilities and programs of The Johns Hopkins Health System. The $2.7 billion enterprise is one of the largest employers in Maryland. Its components consistently are named at the top of national rankings for best hospital and best school of medicine, and its faculty consistently win the largest share of NIH research funds. Results of this research continue to advance efforts to diagnose, treat and prevent many diseases.
Research In Motion is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of innovative wireless solutions for the worldwide mobile communications market. Through the development of integrated hardware, software and services that support multiple wireless network standards, RIM provides platforms and solutions for seamless access to time-sensitive information including e-mail, phone, SMS messaging, and Internet and intranet-based applications. RIM technology also enables a broad array of third-party developers and manufacturers to enhance their products and services with wireless connectivity. RIM's award-winning products, services and embedded technologies are used by thousands of organizations around the world and include the BlackBerry wireless platform, the RIM Wireless Handheld product line, software development tools, radio-modems and software/hardware licensing agreements. Founded in 1984 and based in Waterloo, Ontario, RIM operates offices in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.