Johns Hopkins Medicine
Office of Corporate Communications
MEDIA CONTACT: David March
October 30, 2004
COMPREHENSIVE, ONLINE GUIDE ASSISTS CLINICIANS IN THE DIAGNOSIS, MANAGEMENT AND TREATMENT OF HIV/AIDS
The Johns Hopkins Point of Care Information Technology (POC-IT) Center will launch a clinical decision support tool for HIV disease (The Johns Hopkins HIV Guide, <http://www.hopkins-hivguide.org>) at ICAAC on Oct. 30.
"The field of HIV/AIDS care changes rapidly, making it difficult for physicians to keep up to date with the new information while investing the time needed to actually care for patients," notes the guide's editor-in-chief, infectious disease specialist Joel Gallant, M.D., M.P.H., an associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Johns Hopkins. "The HIV Guide addresses that dilemma by enlisting the help of a team of AIDS experts to break down new information into very easily accessible, cross-referenced modules that cover all aspects of HIV/AIDS care."
Gallant will lead a group of more than 35 nationally recognized experts in HIV/AIDS care, who will produce and update the guide's database on new treatments and practices.
The HIV Guide will include an HIV resistance tool that will help clinicians manage patients failing therapy by providing individualized interpretations of patients' genotypic resistance test results. This key tool will help health care providers avoid prescribing drugs that would have limited effectiveness because of resistance mutations, according to Gallant.
The guide's panel of experts will closely monitor and digest information in the fields of diagnostic testing, drugs, infectious pathogens associated with immune deficiency, and HIV disease management, according to Paul Auwaerter, M.D., M.B.A., chief medical officer of Johns Hopkins POC-IT and associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins.
"The authors not only update their own modules regularly, but also list the references linking users to the original papers through PubMed," says Auwaerter. "This service allows the user to go right to original source materials for more information." PubMed is a service of the National Library of Medicine that links users to millions of abstracted and full text articles.
The HIV Guide, based on the Johns Hopkins Point of Care Information Technology (POC-IT), joins a growing family of Web-based clinical guides, according to Gallant. Although not yet formatted for downloading onto personal digital assistants (PDA), the AIDS guide will eventually join POC-IT's flagship product, the Johns Hopkins Antibiotic Guide (ABX Guide, http://www.hopkins-abxguide.org) as both a Web- and PDA-based database.
The ABX Guide has been widely accepted by the medical community. The April 2003 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases singled it out as the best infectious disease point-of-care tool available. In addition, it was called a "must have" by Pharmacy Practice News.
Future POC-IT guides are expected to cover other specialties, eventually encompassing most of the fundamental knowledge sought by physicians, whether as part of daily ambulatory practice, performing emergency care, or for continuing medical education.POC-IT technology's bidirectional data flow means that as the guide pushes new information into PDAs synchronized to the Web site, there is an automatic, reverse flow of information from the registered PDA or Web site audience regarding their use of the guide. This information represents a database that informs researchers how clinicians around the country are treating specific diseases. "Such information will be invaluable in helping clinical and health care policy researchers assess medical practices around the country," says Gallant.
The two-way communication should also facilitate communication among clinicians seeking assistance from their colleagues in recruiting patients for clinical trials of new treatments, Auwaerter says.
(Presented at the 44TH INTERSCIENCE CONFERENCE ON ANTIMICROBIAL AGENTS AND CHEMOTHERAPY (ICAAC), OCT. 30 - NOV. 2, WASHINGTON, D.C., Poster Board #1837, Hall D/E, Washington Convention Center.)