Penn Medicine takes on antibiotic resistance risk in collaboration with health IT startup

C. difficile bacteria

C. difficile bacteria

Antibiotic resistance is a major public health threat caused partly by the overprescription of antibiotics. But bacteria’s resistance to commonly used antibiotics can vary depending on the region and the hospital. In a bid to build a better way to predict which antibiotics are most appropriate, Penn Medicine is collaborating with health IT startup Teqqa to develop a real-time risk assessment platform for antibiotic resistance, according to a statement from Penn.

About 2 million people are infected with drug-resistant bacteria and 23,000 die from these infections each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

“Predicting and understanding the trends and patterns of resistance allows clinicians to choose appropriate medications to treat a patient’s infection, and provides the health system real, actionable data to make broad recommendations for use of these life-saving drugs,” Dr. Keith Hamilton, director of Antimicrobial Stewardship at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania said in the statement.


Dr. Patrick J. Brennan the chief medical officer for the University of Pennsylvania Health System said the goal is to allow physicians to understand the behavior of infections locally, regionally and most importantly, within their healthcare facilities to produce better outcomes.

Teqqa was founded by Dr. Dan Peterson last month, according to his LinkedIn page. His previous startup, Cereplex, developed web-based surveillance applications for hospital infection control and antibiotic management. Premier acquired the business in 2006. He has also worked as a clinical epidemiologist for the Centers for Disease Control.

Other institutions are also researching ways to apply big data to fighting bacteria. Dr. Ruth Massey, a researcher with the Department of Biology & Biochemistry with the University of Bath is working on an analytics tool for MRSA with Dr. Tim Reed, an associate professor at Emory University in Atlanta.

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