20 March 2015

Horizon2020 grant for Marco Spruit (Computer Science) for further development of medication review web application

The European Research Council has awarded a 6.6 million Euro grant to a Horizon2020 project for the further development of the STRIP Assistant web application developed by Dr. Marco Spruit (Information and Computing Sciences) in cooperation with UMC Utrecht. The STRIP Assistant helps general practitioners and chemists to re-evaluate the prescribed combination of medicines if the patient is administered five or more different drugs. The OPERAM project for which the grant was intended focuses on the continued development of the application for use in hospitals in the participating countries, especially for elderly patients. Seven organisations from Switzerland, Ireland, Belgium, Greece, Italy and Germany are involved in OPERAM in partnership with Utrecht University and UMC Utrecht.

In the Netherlands alone, more than 1.4 million people use five or more medicines. This ‘polypharmacy’ can lead to unexpected side effects and result in less adherence to a therapy regimen. This in turn can lead the complaints to worsen or new complaints developing, which may even require hospitalisation. The situation mostly affects older people. OPERAM, which stands for ‘OPtimising thERapy to prevent Avoidable hospital admissions in the Multimorbid elderly’ therefore focuses its efforts on elderly patients.

Self-learning knowledge system

“The computer science challenges in OPERAM lie in making the different medication classification systems compatible with one another and the smart use of data-analytical possibilities offered by the STRIP Assistant”, explains Dr. Spruit. The STRIP Assistant uses a self-learning knowledge system to support decisions in that the degree to which the care providers follow its advice is taken into consideration in subsequent decisions. This makes the web application increasingly compatible with the best practices of care providers.

Clinical trial

The effectiveness and efficiency of the STRIP Assistant for use in hospitals will be studied via a large-scale randomised clinical trial spanning 2.5 years and involving 1,900 patients aged 75 and older. The STRIP Assistant was developed by Dr. Marco Spruit and Prof. Sjaak Brinkkemper from the research group Organisation & Information of the department of Information and Computing Sciences, in collaboration with Dr. Paul Jansen, clinical geriatrician/clinical pharmacologist at UMC Utrecht.

More information


Monica van der Garde, Press Spokesperson, Faculty of Science, m.vandergarde@uu.nl, 06 13 66 14 38.