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The Clinical Practice Innovation Award

Current Winner

WMasonKAVITA P. BHAVAN, MD, MHS, FIDSA, an expert in outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy (OPAT), whose innovative approach brought this vital treatment to uninsured patients, is the recipient of IDSA’s 2017 Clinical Practice Innovation Award. This new award recognizes members who devote the majority of their time to patient care and have, within the last five years, significantly advanced the clinical practice of infectious diseases by making innovations in clinical practice design or management, or by fostering change to better recognize the value of infectious diseases practice. Despite the benefits of OPAT for patients on long-term antibiotics, this therapy is typically not available to the uninsured who cannot afford it, leading to long, unnecessary hospitalizations solely for antibiotic infusions at safety-net hospitals. The medical director of the Outpatient Parenteral Antimicrobial Clinic at Parkland Hospital, a large safety-net hospital in Dallas, Texas, Dr. Bhavan developed a successful program in which even the most underserved patients can receive outpatient antibiotic therapy. Engaging and empowering patients, the multidisciplinary program, which began in 2009, offers uninsured patients the option to be taught to self-administer intravenous antibiotics, using a standardized protocol to ensure patient mastery, with weekly in-clinic follow up.

In the program’s first four years, clinical outcomes for self-administered antimicrobial therapy were similar to or better than those for provider-administered methods, with a 47 percent lower hospital readmission rate among self-administered patients compared to those discharged with traditional forms of OPAT. Mortality was also equivalent in the two groups. The program vastly improved resource utilization, saving more than 27,000 hospital bed days at an estimated cost savings of approximately $40 million in the first four years, with high patient satisfaction rates. Recognized nationally as an innovation in delivering improved patient care in the safety-net setting, the program’s approach is now being replicated in underserved areas across the country.

A nationally recognized OPAT expert, and a member of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Dr. Bhavan serves on the committee currently updating IDSA’s OPAT guidelines. In 2016, in recognition of the impact of the self-administered OPAT program she developed, Dr. Bhavan and Parkland Hospital received a Gage Award for Innovation and Excellence from America’s Essential Hospitals, an association dedicated to high-quality care. Parkland Hospital, where she previously served as director of Antimicrobial Stewardship and now serves as medical director of the Parkland Center for High Impact Clinical Outcomes Studies, in addition to the Infectious Diseases/OPAT clinic, named her physician of the year in 2012 in recognition of the outpatient program’s success.

Dr. Bhavan received a medical degree from Penn State University and completed her internship at Rochester General Hospital and the University of Rochester in New York, followed by residency at the Ochsner Clinic Foundation in New Orleans and an ID fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis. She also earned a master of health science degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. In 2009, Dr. Bhavan joined the faculty of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, where she is an associate professor of internal medicine.

Dedicated and passionate about improving patient care, Dr. Bhavan has clearly demonstrated how infectious disease clinicians can champion innovation at their own institutions and the healthcare system at large. The Society is delighted to recognize her with the 2017 Clinical Practice Innovation Award.

Past Winners of the Watanakunakorn Clinician Award 

2016 Wilbert H. Mason, MD, MPH, FIDSA
2015     James Horton, MD, FIDSA
2014      Eliot W. Godofsky, MD
2013      Johan S. Bakken, MD, PhD and Thomas M. File, Jr., MD, MSc
2012 David N. Gilbert, MD, FIDSA
2011 Stan Deresinski, MD, FIDSA
2010     Marvin J. Tenenbaum, MD, FIDSA
2009 Lawrence J. Eron, MD, FIDSA
2008 Michael L. Butera, MD
2007 Timothy T. Kuberski, MD, FIDSA
2006 Barbara H. Wade, MD, FIDSA
2005 James S. Tan, MD
2004 Donald M. Poretz, MD
2003 Steven Jon Berman, MD, FACP and Richard N. Olans, MD
2002 William A. Agger, MD
2001 H. Gunner Deery, MD and Peter T. Frame, MD
2000 Martin C. McHenry, MD, MS and Chatrchai Watanakunakorn, MD
1999 Gonzalo Ballon-Landa, MD and Thomas G. Slama, MD
1998 David S. McKinsey, MD and Daniel J. Sexton, MD
1997 Ramon E. Moncada, MD
1996 George Atkinson, MD Pankey, MD and Alan D. Tice, MD
1995 Ellie J.C. Goldstein, MD
1994 George Thornton, MD
1993 Edward Septimus, MD


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