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Int J Clin Pract. 2004 Mar;58(3):300-5.

An analysis of an open access general practitioner bone densitometry service.

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Bone Research Unit, Academic Department of Geriatric Medicine, Llandough Hospital, Cardiff, UK.


General practitioners (GPs) are increasingly involved in the selective opportunistic case finding of osteoporosis and treatment of this condition. An open access bone densitometry service has existed for GPs in the Cardiff area since 1993. The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of this service, particularly with respect to the appropriateness of bone densitometry requests and the impact of the service on hospital outpatient referrals. Over a period of 12 months, 560 patients were referred to the open access service by 154 GPs. A total of 229 (41%) patients were given a clinical diagnosis of osteoporosis. Four hundred and seventy-three (84%) referrals followed the clinical referral criteria. In 85% of cases, GPs claimed that they would have referred patients to the hospital outpatient department, if there were no open access bone densitometry service. The majority of the referrals were appropriate, and the service appears to have reduced GP referrals to the specialist clinic.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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