The Voice of the Patient: Patient Roles in Antibiotic Management at the Hospital-to-Home Transition

J Patient Saf. 2022 Apr 1;18(3):e633-e639. doi: 10.1097/PTS.0000000000000899.


Objective: Our objective was to characterize tasks required for patient-performed antibiotic medication management (MM) at the hospital-to-home transition, as well as barriers to and strategies for patient-led antibiotic MM. Our overall goal was to understand patients' role in managing antibiotics at the hospital-to-home transition.

Methods: We performed a qualitative study including semistructured interviews with health care workers and contextual inquiry with patients discharged home on oral antibiotics. The setting was one academic medical center and one community hospital. Participants included 37 health care workers and 16 patients. We coded interview transcripts and notes from contextual inquiry and developed themes.

Results: We identified 6 themes involving barriers or strategies for antibiotic MM. We identified dissonance between participant descriptions of the ease of antibiotic MM at the hospital-to-home transition and their experience of barriers. Similarly, patients did not always recognize when they were experiencing side effects. Lack of access to follow-up care led to unnecessarily long antibiotic courses. Instructions about completing antibiotics were not routinely provided. However, patients typically did not question the need for the prescribed antibiotic.

Conclusions: There are many opportunities to improve patient-led antibiotic MM at the hospital-to-home transition. Mismatches between patient perceptions and patient experiences around antibiotic MM at the hospital-to-home transition provide opportunities for health system improvement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Patient Discharge
  • Qualitative Research
  • Transitional Care*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents