UX Awards

The Premier Awards for Exceptional Digital Experience

Epocrates Bugs + Drugs Details


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An antibiotic resistance app, Bugs+Drugs, provides information about bacterial threats and effective antibiotic treatment options.

Epocrates Bugs + Drugs helps solve an old physician dilemma. When do you prescribe antibiotics for bacterial infections, and if so, which antibiotic? Judicious use of antibiotics limits the spread of resistant bacteria, or “superbugs.” Yet too often, physicians in non-hospital settings don’t know what “bugs” are common in their area, nor which are resistant to antibiotics. When it comes to choosing effective antibiotics, hospital-based doctors benefit from antibiograms—data charts that detail bacterial resistance patterns sampled from inpatients. However, until now, no similar tool existed for the hundreds of thousands of doctors in outpatient settings across the U.S. Bugs + Drugs has taken the concept of the static antibiogram spreadsheet and updated it for today’s physician, making it mobile, dynamic, visually appealing, and community-relevant. The app’s state-of-the-art algorithm filters thousands of de-identified microbiology lab data points taken from over 15 million patients records on the athenahealth’s cloud-based electronic health record (EHR) network and serves up resistance patterns—searchable by ZIP code. Bugs + Drugs puts actionable resistance data into the hands of physicians for better and more appropriate care decisions, and it’s these informed decisions that help fight the growing threat of resistant “superbugs.”

Live Project Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/epocrates-bugs-+-drugs/id706464884?mt=8

Why this project is worthy of a UX Award:

Beautiful and intuitive, Epocrates Bugs + Drugs redefines what a medical application can and should be. As a UX team, we worked hard to understand the needs of doctors and the issues they face, so we could solve the right problem. In doing so, we have come up with an elegant design solution that delivers much needed localized antibiotic resistance information. Bugs + Drugs takes that “big data,” with its complex clinical data points and makes it actionable and easy to digest for physicians during, or in between, patient visits. We created a unique visual experience for physicians by: • Integrating stunning electron micrographs of actual bacteria • Leveraging the best elements and motifs of consumer design and applying them with the clinician in mind without sacrificing clinical relevance or the ability to find information quickly • Devising an intuitive interface and engaging design that allows physicians to easily navigate • Taking advantage of iOS7 parallax and scrolling features Launched in October 2013, Bugs + Drugs quickly became one of the top three medical apps in the Apple App Store, where it is still featured. To date, it has earned 5+ stars, with users calling it "sleek and informative” and a "pretty awesome concept.”

Submitted By: Epocrates, Inc., an athenahealth service

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