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November 18, 2015

Big Data analytics fights UK superbugs

News: EXASOL research finds link between deprived areas and higher levels of antibiotic prescriptions.

By James Nunns

Big Data analytics are being put to good use in the fight against superbugs.

Research undertaken in partnership between EXASOL and Antibiotic Research UK sought to discover insights into five years of prescribing data in GP surgeries in England, which amounts to 83GB of uncompressed data or 602 million rows.

Using EXASOL’s analytic database it was found that antibiotic prescriptions are coming down, however, GP practices in the most deprived parts of the country are prescribing 20% more antibiotic prescriptions.

In Clacton-on-Sea, the UK’s most deprived area; antibiotic prescribing rates are almost twice the national average.

Other findings saw London doctors prescribe 21% fewer antibiotics than the North and a gap in prescribing between the least and most deprived areas of England is 20%.

Prescriptions per head peaked in 2012 with 3.8 million, a number which has dropped by 5.6%.

Doctors prescribe 59% more in December than they do in August, despite illnesses treated by antibiotics not being seasonal.

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The data was visualised by combining the prescribing dataset with geographic data, it was then plotted on a map to create a choropleth heatmap over 32,000 geographic "Lower Level Super Output Areas."

Sean Jackson, CMO, EXASOL said: "The heatmap is so detailed that it is possible to single out individual surgeries overprescribing."

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