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Keywords:

  • Osteoporosis;
  • Clinical process improvement

Abstract

Objective

To improve osteoporosis diagnosis and treatment of fragility fracture patient populations because osteoporosis care is provided infrequently to those patients, leaving them vulnerable to further fractures and increasing debility.

Methods

Osteoporosis experts from 11 US health systems participated in a clinical improvement project based on previously described successful osteoporosis care process redesigns. Participants were taught rapid cycle process improvement methods that are widely used in clinical improvement projects, and were supported in their efforts by the program coordinator. Measures of successful process development included establishing reliable referral from orthopedic fracture care to osteoporosis diagnosis and treatment, nurse coordination and monitoring of osteoporosis care, and use of process management software for registering patients and organizing work.

Results

Four sites were able to establish these critical referral and osteoporosis management processes. Two sites were partially successful in increasing orthopedic referrals to consultative care, but otherwise continued traditional care processes. Five were unsuccessful due to inability to implement 1 or more of these key process improvements.

Conclusion

Reliable osteoporosis care for fracture patients is possible if traditional practice processes are replaced with more effective, well-recognized approaches to chronic disease management.