Collective Intelligence Might Reduce Antibiotic Resistance and Overuse

by Karishma Abhishek on Nov 15 2020 12:51 PM

Collective Intelligence Might Reduce Antibiotic Resistance and Overuse
Collective intelligence of diverse group of medical prescribers might help in refining the judgment for antibiotic prescription, thereby curtailing the population wide antibiotic resistance.
This 'Wisdom of crowds' approach to antibiotic stewardship' was investigated by an international group of researchers led by Dr Eva Krockow at the University of Leicester. It is published in Scientific Reports.

Antimicrobial Overuse

Antimicrobial overuse poses an emerging health threat to the population concerning drug-resistant infections. Evidence suggests that ~30-40% of antibiotic prescriptions for hospital patients and up to 60% of antibiotic prescriptions in primary care are inappropriate, though the proper measuring technique is limited for the same.

It is predicted that by 2050, antimicrobial overuse would incur annual costs of more than 10 million lives. The study dug upon the aforementioned technique to improve the guidelines of antibiotic decision making and reduce antibiotic overuse.

The team ran computer simulations to compare three data aggregation rules across different clinical cases and group sizes, and recognized patterns of prescribing bias in antibiotic treatment durations. The data involved 787 expert antibiotic prescribers using an international survey.

Their results demonstrated that pooling the treatment recommendations (using the median) could improve guideline compliance in groups of three or more prescribers. This would preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics in future generations.

Dr Eva Krockow, Lecturer and Lead of the Health and Wellbeing Research Strand at the Department of Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour, University of Leicester, said: "Collecting and aggregating independent judgements of medical prescribers in line with the concept of the wisdom of crowds appears to be a promising decision technique to improve guideline compliance in the context of antibiotic decision making and reduce antibiotic overuse."

The technique would benefit hospitals that have limited existing guidelines. Follow-up research is required to explore the potential of collective decision making across a larger variety of prescriber samples and decision contexts.


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