Patients Take the Lead in Outpatient IV Antibiotic Therapy

Parkland uses Epic to coordinate patient education, and it pays off


Parkland Health & Hospital System in Dallas took home a HIMSS Davies award for a program that reduced 30-day readmissions by 47 percent and saved over 27,000 inpatient days in its first few years. What’s behind the achievement is not a scientific breakthrough, but rather a daring approach to patient engagement.

In 2009, Parkland began educating uninsured patients to self-administer IV antibiotics at home rather than paying for care at the hospital or from other providers. Parkland is a safety net hospital, so they treat many uninsured patients who are unable to access standard forms of outpatient IV antibiotic therapy. When patients need IV antibiotics, nurses teach them how to use the equipment and patients demonstrate their proficiency with it. A multidisciplinary care team including pharmacists, nurses, care managers, and others use Epic to screen which patients are eligible for the program, track patient education, calculate necessary medical equipment, and coordinate weekly follow-up appointments.

“This really taps into human potential, giving a voice to the uninsured at the same time that it offers an opportunity for enormous cost savings to hospitals,” said Dr. Kavita Bhavan, chief innovation officer and medical director of the Infectious Diseases OPAT Clinic at Parkland.

Read more about the program in the study at PLOS Medicine. Epic community members can find Parkland’s UGM presentation slides and audio on the UserWeb. The program was one of the initiatives that contributed to Parkland’s Davies award.