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"We sought to determine whether changing our inpatient OPAT documentation method would improve postdischarge care" Certain et al (2022).
How to improve OPAT post discharge care


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.


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.