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Phys Sportsmed. 2009 Dec;37(4):62-7. doi: 10.3810/psm.2009.12.1743.

Physician follow-up care for osteoporosis after fragility fractures.

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Crozer Keystone Health System, PA, USA.


Osteoporosis affects > 10 million Americans each year. The disease is characterized by low bone mass and decreased bone strength, and patients often sustain fragility fractures. Previous research highlights low rates of identification and treatment of the disease after a fragility fracture, yet patients are still overlooked. This study identified patients who did not receive proper osteoporosis care after a fragility fracture in Southeastern Pennsylvania. In a telephone interview, we asked patients who had sustained a fragility fracture in 2008 and were treated at one orthopedic practice about information on events before and after their fractures. We concluded that a patient's bone health had suboptimal care if, after the fracture, the patient had no doctor interview, did not receive bone mineral density testing, and did not begin or change medications. Of the 224 patients who participated in our study, we determined that 149 (67%) patients received insufficient osteoporosis care. One hundred fourteen (63%) women and 35 (80%) men received inadequate osteoporosis care. The high incidence of unsatisfactory care, particularly in men, indicates that osteoporosis care continues to be a problem. We believe that one contributing factor is physician accountability for care. Our study indicates that no specific specialist takes responsibility for follow-up care, possibly signifying the lack of an adequate system for identifying and treating the disease. The opportunity to address this issue should be a high priority for both primary care physicians and orthopedic surgeons.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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