Failure modes and effects analysis to improve transitions of care in patients discharged on outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy

Eleanor D. Sadler, Edina Avdic, Sara E. Cosgrove, Dawn Hohl, Michael Grimes, Meghan Swarthout, Kathryn Dzintars, Christopher K. Lippincott, Sara C. Keller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To identify barriers to safe and effective completion of outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy (OPAT) in patients discharged from an academic medical center and to develop targeted solutions to potentially resolve or improve the identified barriers. Summary: A failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) was conducted by a multidisciplinary OPAT task force to evaluate the processes for patients discharged on OPAT to 2 postdischarge dispositions: (1) home and (2) skilled nursing facility (SNF). The task force created 2 process maps and identified potential failure modes, or barriers, to the successful completion of each step. Thirteen and 10 barriers were identified in the home and SNF process maps, respectively. Task force members created 5 subgroups, each developing solutions for a group of related barriers. The 5 areas of focus included (1) the OPAT electronic order set, (2) critical tasks to be performed before patient discharge, (3) patient education, (4) patient follow-up and laboratory monitoring, and (5) SNF communication. Interventions involved working with information technology to update the electronic order set, bridging communication and ensuring completion of critical tasks by creating an inpatient electronic discharge checklist, developing patient education resources, planning a central OPAT outpatient database within the electronic medical record, and creating a pharmacist on-call pager for SNFs. Conclusion: The FMEA approach was helpful in identifying perceived barriers to successful transitions of care in patients discharged on OPAT and in developing targeted interventions. Healthcare organizations may reproduce this strategy when completing quality improvement planning for this high-risk process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1223-1232
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Health-System Pharmacy
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021


  • failure modes and effect analysis
  • infectious diseases
  • outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy
  • transitions of care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmacology
  • Health Policy


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