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J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2010 Mar-Apr;17(2):212-6. doi: 10.1136/jamia.2009.002436.

Population informatics-based system to improve osteoporosis screening in women in a primary care practice.

Author information

  • 1Division of Primary Care Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA. kesman.rebecca@mayo.edu



To study the effects of using a population-based informatics system for osteoporosis screening and treatment in women aged 65 years or older.


A population-based informatics system (PRECARES: PREventive CAre REminder System) was implemented to meet the needs of the workflow of a primary care practice. Patients treated in either of two sections of a primary care internal medicine department were selected for the intervention, and patients of a comparable third section served as the control group. PRECARES identified women in the intervention group who were due for osteoporosis screening on the basis of age and who had no record of previous screening in our clinical system. If these eligible patients did not have an upcoming outpatient appointment, appointment secretaries sent a letter requesting that they call to make an appointment for a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry scan.


At baseline and 3 months after the letters were sent, a database was used to determine the rate of osteoporosis screening in the intervention and control groups.


A total of 689 patients in the intervention group were sent the letter. Three months after the letters were sent, the rate of osteoporosis screening was 76.4% (2409/3152) in the intervention group vs 69% (928/1344) in the control group (p<0.001). In the intervention group, 25% of the 689 patients responded to the letter and completed osteoporosis screening. Patients who had osteoporosis screening received appropriate treatment.


A population-based informatics system for primary care practice significantly improved the rate of osteoporosis screening.

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