Background: Patients discharged from the hospital on outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy (OPAT) require close monitoring, including weekly blood tests and an early posthospital follow-up visit. However, because patients often receive OPAT in a separate healthcare system from where they received inpatient care, the OPAT plan often fails, with less than 75% of OPAT patients receiving the recommended laboratory monitoring. We sought to determine whether changing our inpatient OPAT documentation method would improve postdischarge care.
Methods: As a quality improvement initiative, we conducted 2 Plan-Do-Study-Act interventions on our OPAT documentation. Our first intervention was to create a standardized OPAT Progress Note, and our second was to turn that note into a SmartForm (Epic) with discrete fields for the key information. We examined the effects of these changes on the rate of completion of recommended laboratory monitoring, attendance at outpatient follow-up visits, and 30-day readmission rates.
Results: Changing our documentation to a standardized Progress Note and then to a SmartForm with discrete fields led to an increase in the proportion of patients with a serum creatinine checked within 10 days of discharge (from 63% to 71% to 73%) and who attended an infectious disease clinic visit within 3 weeks of discharge (from 21% to 36% to 47%). However, the rate of readmissions for OPAT-related problems did not change, nor did a composite outcome of 30-day mortality/unplanned readmission.
Conclusions: Changes in how and where care plans are documented in the inpatient medical record can have significant effects on patient care outcomes after discharge.Reference:
Certain LK, Benefield RJ, Newman M, Zhang M, Thomas FO. A Quality Initiative to Improve Postdischarge Care for Patients on Outpatient Parenteral Antimicrobial Therapy. Open Forum Infect Dis. 2022 Apr 15;9(7):ofac199. doi: 10.1093/ofid/ofac199. PMID: 35794930; PMCID: PMC9251666.