Global in vitro diagnostics leader bioMérieux, Inc. uses SAS Viya to revolutionize antimicrobial stewardship and empower informed clinical decision making
Antibiotics are a miracle of modern medicine. However, antibiotic misuse – including over-prescribing and inaccurate prescribing – causes bacteria and fungi to evolve and become resistant to treatment, leading to 2.8 million infections and more than 35,000 deaths annually in the US.
Fast and actionable diagnostics can save lives. The sooner antimicrobial resistance can be identified, the sooner doctors can put patients on the right prescription. And that’s where bioMérieux enters the picture.
bioMérieux provides in vitro diagnostics solutions (systems, reagents, software and services) to the clinical field for diagnosing infectious diseases. Its customers include hospitals, clinical laboratories, pharmacies and government bodies. The company excels at identifying the causative agent of an infection and whether that causative agent – when bacterial – has any resistance. This work is fundamental for advancing public health objectives.
But doctors don’t always have the luxury of waiting for test results before acting and must turn to historical data to support initial decision making. When patients need medicine now, hospitals typically rely on an antibiogram, a report that helps clinicians decide which antibiotics to use on a patient while waiting for confirmation from a lab. However, standard antibiograms contain only general information about bacterial pathogens, thereby increasing the risk of prescribing inappropriate antibiotics.
Seeing an opportunity to improve the antibiogram – and ultimately improve the quality of patient care – bioMérieux teamed up with SAS.
Health care providers and clinical laboratory scientists rely on real-time clinical data – not anecdotes – to render optimal decisions. CLARION, powered by SAS, revolutionizes antimicrobial stewardship and transforms the antibiogram to be automated and dynamic, providing up-to-date information. Dr. John Hurst PharmD, Senior Director of US Antimicrobial Stewardship bioMérieux
Revolutionizing the antibiogram
By generating better antibiograms using SAS Visual Analytics, bioMérieux helps clinicians identify the best empiric antimicrobial treatment based on data from current local resistance patterns. This represented a sea change in diagnostics. Now, instead of using general information from up to a year ago, doctors can easily access real-time, localized antimicrobial resistance data via mobile dashboards to improve diagnosis and treatment.
“SAS allows us to deliver more customized antibiograms that reflect the patient sitting in front of the clinician, rather than everyone who walked through the door last year,” explains Dr. John Hurst, PharmD, Senior Director of US Antimicrobial Stewardship at bioMérieux. “Having real-time information that is specific to each patient enables clinicians to make better decisions, which is a huge improvement from when it was a paper stuffed in their pocket.”
According to bioMérieux, customers were thrilled with the new antibiograms, which not only empowered them to make faster, smarter decisions regarding antibiotics, but also allowed them to comply with antimicrobial stewardship mandates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other regulatory authorities.
The importance of real-time data, particularly during a health crisis
Everything was humming along nicely; then the world changed in early 2020, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Medical and public health challenges quickly evolved, and advanced analytics became even more crucial in bioMérieux’s work.
As the pandemic spread, health care facilities worldwide became inundated with patients – and questions. Foremost: How do you treat COVID-19? bioMérieux played a vital role in helping administrators grapple with this important question.
Soon, bioMérieux saw the opportunity to expand its informational offerings. Its new cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering, BIOMÉRIEUX CLARION™, connects the myriad of health care data inside US hospitals and reference laboratories to provide key insights to battle public health threats. The innovative solution tracks antimicrobial-resistant bacteria and other health data to quickly produce dashboards on SAS Viya to empower more informed clinical decision making.
“Health care providers and clinical laboratory scientists rely on real-time clinical data – not anecdotes – to render optimal decisions,” Dr. Hurst says. “CLARION, powered by SAS, revolutionizes antimicrobial stewardship and transforms the antibiogram to be automated and dynamic, providing up-to-date information.”
Innovating the antibiogram gave bioMérieux experience in securely providing real-time health data to outside organizations. When COVID-19 increased reporting requirements for health care facilities, bioMérieux was able to step in and automate those processes as well.
This was a relief for hospitals and health clinics that were immersed in crisis response to the pandemic. According to bioMérieux, some lab managers were spending half their days collecting data for COVID-19 reporting – a manual process that leached time away from caring for patients. With CLARION, bioMérieux customers can produce these reports automatically, saving hours of crucial time.
“The pandemic showed the importance of having accurate diagnostic data,” says Todd Hendrix, Senior Manager of the Health Information Solutions and Services team. “We were able to tell our customers, ‘Not only can we deliver the antibiograms you need, we also can create the COVID reports for you. We can put everything you’re doing on a daily basis into a tool that you can have right at your fingertips – you don’t have to manually collate or aggregate data anymore.’”
I can get what I need without giving months of my life to writing special queries and poring through charts. We create antibiograms in three clicks when it previously took three months. Mike Broyles PharmD, Director of Pharmacy and Laboratory Services St. Bernards Five Rivers Medical Center
Analytics for all, with tailored benefits
Embedded in CLARION are sophisticated algorithms that underpin SAS Visual Data Mining and Machine Learning, a key component in the SaaS solution. These algorithms serve to make things easier for users, who can now take advantage of world-class analytics without any previous analytics experience.
“A wide range of people use CLARION – laboratory staff, doctors, nurses, medical directors, pharmacists, infectious disease experts, as well as quality experts who manage processes and procedures,” Hendrix explains. “And SAS Viya gives them the ability to access the dynamic reports and dashboards they need from anywhere, whether it’s a desktop location, a tablet or even a smartphone.”
Mike Broyles, PharmD, Director of Pharmacy and Laboratory Services at St. Bernards Five Rivers Medical Center in Arkansas, is one of these users. “CLARION allows me to go beyond any previous attempts at data collection and presentation and deliver insights that have been locked away in lab, pharmacy and EMR systems,” he says. “I can get what I need without giving months of my life to writing special queries and poring through charts. We create antibiograms in three clicks when it previously took three months.”
According to bioMérieux, this accessibility combined with high trust in the technology has prompted health care professionals to ask deeper questions and start integrating more technology into the patient experience.
“Ultimately, CLARION helps our customers do more of what they do best – treating patients,” Dr. Hurst says. “We can help medical and clinical staff get back to work and focused on patient care while simultaneously meeting their requirements from a regulatory or reporting perspective.”
bioMérieux – Facts & Figures
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Supporting the shift to value-based health care
The advanced analytics capabilities of CLARION also make it easier for health care visionaries to explore the next frontier of medicine – value-based health care.
Meghan Thelen is Senior Director of Value-Based Health Care at bioMérieux. She explains that health care delivery and payment models are shifting from a volume-based system to one based on the value realized by the patient. While this shift is generally good for consumers, it challenges providers to deliver better care at a lower cost. This is where better diagnostics and data sharing can make a significant impact.
“CLARION is a wonderful tool for measuring value,” Thelen says. “With SAS, we see the value that diagnostic tests provide in terms of patient outcomes, cost reduction and how quickly clinicians act on the results – all of which help facilitate a value-based system.”
While fighting antimicrobial resistance remains a huge priority for bioMérieux, the company recognizes the tremendous upside of value-based care and is experimenting with building value into its business model. As CLARION gains traction inside and outside the US, bioMérieux plans to leverage its capability to offer alternative business models, partnering with health care providers based on the value bioMérieux diagnostic solutions help those partners realize.
According to Thelen, this innovative business model is made possible with the strong analytics capability SAS offers.
“SAS enables us to objectively analyze the results of our products and services in real time so we can structure those kinds of value-based partnerships in the future,” she says. “Together, we’re bringing our innovative approach to this exciting new frontier.”