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Keywords:

  • Osteoporosis;
  • Clinical process improvement

Abstract

Objective

To review the 3-year performance of an established osteoporosis care service and consider further improvements in an effort to reduce fragility fractures.

Methods

Osteoporosis care has been coordinated for all willing and able patients with orthopedic fragility fractures in our health system by a nurse and medical director since 2003, using a guideline-based care algorithm and task management software. Patients were followed by telephone for 2 years to monitor their status and optimize adherence to treatment. Demographics, management recommendations, clinical data, and adherence to treatment were reviewed for the 2003–2005 patient population.

Results

Of 1,019 patients with fragility fractures, 61% underwent osteoporosis evaluation and treatment. The remainder included 15% who refused to participate and 24% who were unable to participate for various logistical and health reasons. More patients age >80 years were unwilling or unable to participate. Bone densities (dual x-ray absorptiometry [DXA]) were normal, low, or osteoporotic in 24%, 55%, and 21% of patients, respectively, and 60% of the osteoporotic group had ≥1 abnormal metabolic bone laboratory result. Only 17% of the total reported a previous fracture, and 47% had ever undergone DXA. Few experienced bone loss, a new fracture, or bisphosphonate intolerance during treatment.

Conclusion

An osteoporosis care service has coordinated care for every willing and able fragility fracture patient with positive outcomes. In addition, the results suggest a high priority for earlier proactive diagnosis and intervention of the at-risk population if fractures are to be reduced.