Merck & Co plans software application to help tackle C. diff infections

Merck & Co is working a major US hospital provider on a new software system that could help tackle the threat from healthcare-associated C. diff infections.

The pharma company’s deal with Premier will see the partners develop and test the combination of a software-based platform and a coordinator to provide surveillance, consultation, support and education to patients with Clostridium difficile infection (C. diff).

Sam Bozzette, chief scientist of Premier’s retrospective and interventional research division Premier Applied Sciences, said: “By increasing clinician and patient knowledge of this often prolonged, and sometimes deadly infection, and developing and testing a software-based application to help reduce the recurrence of C. diff infection by improving follow-up and management, we believe there is a strong potential to make a real difference to address this critical public health problem.”

The work expands Merck’s chronic disease work with Premier, which has seen them co-develop and test solutions that help promote wellness and prevention for specific groups of at-risk patients since 2016.

Raquel Tapia, associate VP, hospital/specialty marketing at Merck, said: “Combining the technical capabilities of Premier and the therapeutic area expertise of Merck has been instrumental in our ability to address these difficult healthcare challenges.

“By testing the solutions in real-world settings and learning from our growing knowledge base, we’re confident that our work together will help patients.”

The partners’ goal is to increase patient access to healthcare services, raise awareness of how to decrease patient risk of recurrence and help patients identify if they are having a recurrence.

The proposed C. diff software intervention will be tested within volunteer Premier member health systems. The firm current has an alliance of around 3,900 US hospitals and health systems and a further 150,000 or so healthcare providers and organisations.

C. diff infections cause serious and life-threatening diarrhoea and have become one of the most common microbial cause of healthcare-associated infections in US hospitals. It’s thought that C. diff infections affect approximately half a million people and add $4.8 billion to US healthcare costs each year.

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