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Clinical benefits and costs of an outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy service.

Bugeja, Sara Jo; Stewart, Derek; Vosper, Helen


Sara Jo Bugeja

Derek Stewart

Helen Vosper


Background: The enrolment of patients to an outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy (OPAT) service can be a means of mitigating financial burdens related to the provision of care and optimisation of hospital bed management. Objective: This study aimed to identify the clinical benefit of the Maltese OPAT service and to quantify the costs incurred to run it. Methods: The study period ran for 156 weeks during 1st October 2016 to 1st October 2019. Patient demographics, infection type, referring care team, antimicrobial agent/s used, type of vascular access device (VAD) available and service completion status (defined as provision of care without re-hospitalisation) were recorded. Time allocated for OPAT service delivery and expenses incurred were collected and an activity-based costing exercise was performed. Results: The patient population who benefited from the service was of 117, 15 of whom used the service twice, for a total of 132 episodes. Patients received 149 antimicrobial treatment courses, with ceftriaxone being the most common single agent used (n = 52, 34.9%). Teicoplanin with ertapenem was the most common regimen selected for combination therapy (n = 9, 52.9%). A total of 23 episodes (17.4%) resulted in a readmission, 6 (30%) of which were because of patient deterioration. The mean service running weekly cost was €455.47/$538.68 and a total of 3287 days of hospital stay were avoided. This effectively illustrates that the OPAT service optimised hospital bed availability without compromising care delivery. Conclusion: The national OPAT service proved to be a safe and effective alternative for patient management to promote patient-centred care without hospitalisation.


BUGEJA, S.J., STEWART, D. and VOSPER, H. 2021. Clinical benefits and costs of an outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy service. Research in social and administrative pharmacy [online], 17(10), pages 1758-1763. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 18, 2021
Online Publication Date Jan 24, 2021
Publication Date Oct 31, 2021
Deposit Date Feb 8, 2021
Publicly Available Date Jan 25, 2022
Journal Research in social and administrative pharmacy
Print ISSN 1551-7411
Electronic ISSN 1934-8150
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 17
Issue 10
Pages 1758-1763
Keywords Outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy; Activity-based costing; Service evaluation; Patient-centred care; Malta
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