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Osteoporos Int. 2011 May;22(5):1335-42. doi: 10.1007/s00198-010-1329-8. Epub 2010 Jun 25.

Osteoporosis quality indicators using healthcare utilization data.

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  • 1Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto, Leslie L. Dan Pharmacy Building, 144 College Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3M2, Canada.



Healthcare utilization data may be used to examine the quality of osteoporosis management by identifying dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) testing (sensitivity = 98%, specificity = 93%) and osteoporosis pharmacotherapy (κ = 0.81) with minimal measurement error.


In osteoporosis, key quality indicators among older women include risk assessment by DXA and/or pharmacotherapy within 6 months following fracture.


The purpose of this study was to examine healthcare utilization data for use as quality indicators of osteoporosis management. We linked data from 858 community-dwelling women aged over 65 years who completed a standardized telephone interview about osteoporosis management to their healthcare utilization (medical and pharmacy claims) data. Agreement between self-report of osteoporosis pharmacotherapy and pharmacy claims was examined using kappa statistics. We examined the sensitivity and specificity of medical claims to identify DXA testing as well as the sensitivity and specificity of medical and pharmacy claims to identify those with DXA-documented osteoporosis (T-score ≤ -2.5).


Participants were aged 75 (SD = 6) years on average; 96% were Caucasian. Agreement between self-report and claims-based osteoporosis pharmacotherapy was very good (κ = 0.81; 95% CI = 0.76, 0.86). The sensitivity of medical claims to identify DXA testing was 98% (95% CI = 95.9, 99.1), with estimated specificity of 93% (95% CI = 89.8, 95.4). We abstracted DXA results from test reports of 359 women, of whom 114 (32%) were identified with osteoporosis. Medical (osteoporosis diagnosis) and pharmacy (osteoporosis pharmacotherapy) claims within a year after DXA testing had a sensitivity of 80% (95% CI = 71.3, 86.8) and specificity of 72% (95% CI = 66.2, 77.8) to identify DXA-documented osteoporosis.


Healthcare utilization data may be used to examine the quality of osteoporosis management by identifying DXA testing and osteoporosis pharmacotherapy (care processes) with minimal measurement error. However, medical and pharmacy claims alone do not provide a good means for identifying women with underlying osteoporosis.

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