Older Women Gain From Good Post-Fracture Care

An osteoporosis management program keeps patients, doctors connected, study finds

THURSDAY, Oct. 25, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Older patients with fractures benefit from a follow-up osteoporosis management program that includes electronic medical records and outreach programs, U.S. researchers say.

Osteoporosis -- which increases the risk of fracture -- affects about 20 percent of women 65 and older. Medication can greatly reduce fracture risk in people with osteoporosis, but many patients don't receive necessary bone mineral density screening and subsequent treatment, said a team at Kaiser Permanente.

Osteoporosis management involves the receipt of a bone mineral density measurement or osteoporosis medication within six months of a fracture. Wide use of such management could greatly improve secondary prevention of osteoporosis, the researchers said.

"Often, when a patient sustains a fracture, there is a disconnect between the treating orthopedist and the patient's primary care physician," lead author Dr. Adrianne Feldstein, an investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Centre for Health Research in Portland, Ore., said in a prepared statement. With a "computerized database and integrated care delivery system, we can closely monitor and follow patients with fractures and prevent that disconnect."

The study of almost 3,600 women found that this type of program boosted from 13.4 percent to 44 percent the number of patients with a previous fracture who received osteoporosis evaluation/treatment. The findings were published in the September issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

"This intervention has broad applicability to a large group of health care providers -- from local health departments to HMOs to PPOs -- with access to electronic billing or clinical data. Armed with that data, these health organizations can make sure their patients with fractures get appropriate bone density screening follow-up," Feldstein said.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases has more about osteoporosis.

SOURCE: Kaiser Permanente, news release, October 2007
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