Funders: National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Invention for Innovation (I4I) Grant
Partners: North Bristol NHS trust, University of the West of England, University of Oxford, Devices4Dignity, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS trust
Project team: Joe Langley, Rebecca Partridge, Ursula Ankeny, Naomi Rasyzk
GPs diagnose Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) in patients based on their symptoms. Often a urine sample is sent to a laboratory to be checked for infecting bacteria and white blood cells. This current method can take up to three days. As the patient has ongoing symptoms, the GP will sometimes prescribe antibiotics before the laboratory result is back. If this result shows no infection then antibiotics could be harmful to the patient and this use of unnecessary antibiotics adds to the increasing risk of antibiotic resistance.
Partners at the University of the West of England are developing the technology for a device which can be used in primary care settings to identify UTI bacteria and inflammation. Lab4Livings role in the project is User design, Co-design and PPI engagement.
It is not currently possible to confirm UTI diagnosis at the point-of-care, as testing strategies, e.g. urine dipstick tests and clinical presentation, are non-specific. In practice, clinicians frequently prescribe antibiotics without clear-cut diagnosis, risking over-prescription (if the diagnosis was wrong), or potentially the wrong antibiotic (non-sensitive bacterium).
A mounting Public Health concern has identified multi-drug resistance due to inappropriate prescribing. Worldwide, scientists are anxious about the rise in “superbugs”, which may be caused by the overuse of antibiotics.
Through workshops and direct practice visits across Sheffield and Bristol the team has been exploring current testing practices around UTI. Seeking to understand user wants and needs from the potential device and looking for future opportunities in this sector that the introduction of such device much uncover.