UNC Medical Center’s OPAT (Outpatient Parenteral Antibiotic Therapy) Program is a multidisciplinary team designed to provide a structured best practice-focused way for patients to receive IV antimicrobials outside of the acute care setting.
OPAT allows patients to receive IV antimicrobials outside of the hospital, most commonly while at home. This increases patient independence and satisfaction while still delivering safe and appropriate antimicrobial therapy.
Over the past fiscal year (which ended on June 30), UNCMC’s OPAT program completed 354 separate OPAT courses. OPAT patients completed 11,742 patient days on OPAT. One of the most rewarding elements demonstrated by that number is that each one of those patient days is a day that UNC OPAT’s patients were able to be out of the hospital and able to continue their recovery with greater independence. The three most common diagnoses during this period were: osteomyelitis (40% of OPAT courses), bacteremia (19% of OPAT courses), and diabetic foot infections (12% of OPAT courses).
Among the many changes brought by COVID-19 was a move from the team being co-located at UNCMC’s Infectious Diseases Clinic to a decentralized team working from various sites. Throughout this period of disruption, UNC’s OPAT program was able to continue providing its essential service enabling its patients to continue to receive their antimicrobials outside the hospital. In fact, the number of OPAT courses increased nearly 18% over the previous year, despite these challenges.
“Despite the multitude of challenges of COVID-19, our OPAT team adapted and worked together to continue to deliver excellent patient care,” said OPAT team lead Renae Boerneke, PharmD.
Boerneke leads a team of physicians, a nurse practitioner, a nurse coordinator, an administrative specialist, a pharmicoepidemiologist, and a data manager. Together, the team manages the patient’s antimicrobials, monitors labs, triages adverse events, interfaces with the patient’s primary care providers, and provides oversight for the patient’s inpatient to outpatient transition. The OPAT program, which was started in 2015, is now entering its fifth year serving patients.The past year was one unlike any in recent memory, but one where UNCMC’s OPAT program grew its ability to support patients and their recovery.