Osteoporosis Best Care Under Umbrella

Brittle bone disease best assessed with a patient coordinator

(RxWiki News) The old saying, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself," appears to apply to osteoporosis diagnosis and care.

A recent study indicates that fracture clinics need to provide a coordinator to manage osteoporosis patients to ensure proper care. The coordinator should provide osteoporosis assessment, test bone mineral density (BMD) and prescribe all medicine at the same facility.

Go to bone clinics that offer assessment, treatment and care services.

Joanna Sale, Ph.D., lead researcher and clinical epidemiologist at St. Michael’s Hospital in Ontario, Canada, reports that better patient outcomes occur when a coordinator is in place. The coordinator implements osteoporosis screening, BMD testing and supervision of medications for newly-diagnosed patients rather than referring them to another facility for diagnosis and disease management.

Sale observes that fracture clinics are quite busy with patients needing care as well as healthcare professionals -- including physiotherapists, residents, orthopedic surgeons and orthopedic therapists -- all on one campus.

If one coordinator is in place to identify patients who should be tested, educated, ensure BMD testing and prescribe appropriate medications, patient outcomes will improve. Facilities that already have this system in place experience superior patient outcomes compared to clinics that refer all their services off campus.

Sale also recommends standardizing patient reports to provide an “apples to apples” comparison instead of the current reporting method, which doesn’t disclose patient-care specifics.

Osteoporosis is characterized by low bone mass and deteriorating bone tissue, both of which can lead to increased bone fragility and a greater incidence of fracture. Many people don’t know they have osteoporosis until a fracture occurs and  are subsequently evaluated in a fracture clinic.

The study is published in the journal Osteoporosis International.

Review Date: 
July 11, 2011