New vancomycin dosing tool

August 4, 2014

A young PharmD takes on a repetitive process and turns it into a mobile app.

As a pharmacy student, I always wondered why vancomycin dosing wasn't already computerized. Since it is a repetitive process involving reuse of the same equations, it struck me that it would be more efficient to delegate most of the processes to a program, as long as we know how to use it.

Dosing antibiotics has become a significant element of the pharmacist’s role in hospital settings. In my observations, dosing vancomycin (and aminoglycosides) is quite common and time-consuming for many pharmacists, and everyone has their own methods. While many hospitals define protocols for vancomycin dosing, a decent amount of flexibility is given to the pharmacist. With the pharmacy community so closely knit, it is time we find a way to unify this method and maximize efficiency.

The existing mobile apps for dosing vancomycin do not impress me; it is difficult to see where the numbers are coming from, as well as to control certain parameters (for example, how you choose to calculate creatinine clearance).

Within development of such a tool, we still want to leave enough flexibility for the pharmacist's decision-making. As a student, I had put my vancomycin dosing equations into a spreadsheet. I realized later, on rotations, that this would be useful to practicing pharmacists and would make an excellent mobile app. The aim of this article is to outline this method of dosing vancomycin and to introduce you to this tool. I hope this is helpful!

Click on the image above to download the chart.

This app is currently available on Android smartphones and coming soon to iPhone and tablets.

References

1. Hull JH, Sarubbi FA. Gentamicin serum concentrations: Pharmacokinetic predictions. Ann Intern Med. 1976;85(2):183–9.

2. Sarubbi FA, Hull JH. Amikacin serum concentrations: Prediction of levels and dosage guidelines. Ann Intern Med. 1978;89(5 Pt 1):612–8.

3. UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. Clinical Pharmacy Pocket Guide 2011. Triangle College of Clinical Pharmacy – Student Chapter. 

Deanna Wungis a recent PharmD graduate of UNC Chapel Hill Eshelman School of Pharmacy. Contact her at dosing.calculator@gmail.com.