Hospital at home and OPAT comparison
Doctors, authors, funders and hospital managers should take care to distinguish the important differences between hospital in the home (HIH) and outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy (OPAT) services. HIH is an inpatient service delivered at home usually by (or on behalf of) hospitals, which aims to substitute for a traditional inpatient stay. It does so by delivering a wide range of hospital treatments to patients at home, or residential aged care, using hospital medical and nursing staff, delivery technologies and venous access, pharmacy, radiology and pathology, and a structured system of on call and governance. OPAT is an outpatient service, usually run through infectious diseases physicians’ offices or departments. Most care is delivered in infusion centres and requires patients to travel for their care. Generally, there is no after-hours support. HIH has supplanted the role of OPAT due to improved governance and a wider clinical and severity scope. HIH is accessible from hospital emergency departments or directly from residential aged care facilities. Inpatient capacity has been expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic. There is evidence that both HIH and OPAT can successfully treat their selected patient groups. There are no head-to-head studies, but in observational comparisons there might be more adverse drug events in OPAT. OPAT places a greater onus of care, supervision and travel needs on the patient and family. Where HIH is not available, OPAT may remain an alternative for some patients. However, HIH seeks to redefine the delivery of inpatient care away from the location of care.
Montalto M, Ko SQ. Telling the difference and the telling differences between hospital in the home and outpatient parenteral antibiotic therapy. Intern Med J. 2022 May;52(5):880-884. doi: 10.1111/imj.15780. PMID: 35538016.