Outpatient parenteral administration of medications and blood transfusions using an outpatient parenteral antibiotic therapy (OPAT) unit has gradually become a standard of care. We report a continuous quality improvement project that was conducted on an OPAT unit of a tertiary care cancer hospital in Lahore, Pakistan. Prior to the initiation of the project, it was identified that 52% of the patient encounters in the OPAT unit were being delayed by a median of 63.5 minutes. A cause-and-effect analysis was performed, using a fishbone diagram, to identify the reasons for the delay in appointments. Based on the findings, several modifications were made to the processes of the OPAT unit including, but not limited to, a computerised physician order entry (CPOE) system module for prescribing, dispensing, reviewing and dispensing medications, changes in the nursing and staffing roster, and assignment of additional duties to the ward clerks. These changes resulted in improvement of waiting time to a median of 24.5 minutes and percentage delay in patient meetings decreased to 18%. Likewise, in 2019, 5,399 (27%) more patient meetings took place compared with 2018, which would have otherwise costed the hospital between 21.28 to 45.85 million Pakistani rupees. The use of continuous quality improvement techniques in the OPAT unit can result in substantial and appropriate changes in the process of patient flow, leading to measurable and significant reductions in the variability of care, and optimisation of service.Reference:
Khan N, Hafeez H, Khawaja SN. Improving the efficiency and reducing variability in patient flow in an outpatient parenteral antibiotic therapy unit of a tertiary care hospital. Future Healthc J. 2021 Jul;8(2):e263-e266. doi: 10.7861/fhj.2020-0022. PMID: 34286195; PMCID: PMC8285143.