Computers Can Prescribe Correct Dosage

Results from a four-year clinical trial organised from The University of Manchester has shown that computer-assisted dosage is as good, if not better, at prescribing the correct dosage to normalise and maintain the correct ‘international normalised ratio’ (INR) in patients as dosages given by medical professionals.

“The need for computer assistance arises from the massive demand for oral anticoagulants following their success at treating an increasing number of thrombotic and embolic conditions,” said Professor Leon Poller, who headed the research in Manchester’s Faculty of Life Sciences.

The study, carried out in 32 medical centres across the European Union and involving more than 13,000 patients, analysed nearly 400,000 INR tests, divided evenly between manual and computer-assisted dosage. In terms of safety, the number of INR tests that resulted in clinical complications was 7.6 percent lower in all clinical groups with computer-assisted dosage, dispelling any safety concerns.

Indeed, while this overall figure may not be deemed significant, in the 3,208 patients with deep vain thrombosis or pulmonary embolism, the number of clinical events following treatment were significantly lower for computer dosage – 9.1 per 100 patient-years with medical staff dosage was reduced to 6.1 in the computer arm.

“At the very least, our study confirms the clinical safety and effectiveness of computer-assisted dosage using the two systems we tested and should help to bring relief to overstretched medical professionals while providing reassurance to patients,” said Professor Poller.

Prescribing the right oral dose of anticoagulant to patients, even for experienced medical staff, can be problematic as individuals differ greatly in response to a given dose: too high a dose for an individual and the blood becomes too thin and can lead to internal bleeding, too low and the blood clots too readily.; Source: The University of Manchester