The purpose of this study was to develop an integrated-care model for patients at highest risk for osteoporosis, those with a low-trauma fracture. Specific objectives were to describe the current processes and patterns of post-fracture care in hospitals in Ontario; to examine health-care professional and patient awareness of osteoporosis and the roles and responsibilities of various organizations and health care professionals; and to identify barriers and facilitators and obtain feedback on the model.
In 2002, questionnaires were completed for 178 eligible hospitals.
Only 65% of hospitals inform primary-care physicians of a fracture for all patients and only 4% indicated that they provide information about osteoporosis. The main themes that emerged from the four patient focus groups (n=21) were lack of continuity of care, the absence of a link between the fracture and osteoporosis by both patients and health care providers, and need for information. Most participants agreed that something was needed to prompt their primary-care physician to investigate for osteoporosis. The four physician focus groups (n=26) identified a role for orthopaedic surgeons to flag cases.
From 34 key informant interviews with community-based organizations, we found a lack of integration between health care professionals who provide fracture care and those who provide osteoporosis management and fall prevention. Based on these data, we developed an integrated local-resource-based post-fracture care model, which we obtained feedback on at a stakeholder consultation workshop. The model focuses on improving emergency department/fracture clinic communication, emphasizes the need for follow-up investigation by family physicians for osteoporosis, and incorporates other health care professionals and a telemedicine multidisciplinary osteoporosis clinic. We are currently evaluating whether this model leads to an increase in appropriate investigation of and treatment for osteoporosis in patients with low-trauma fractures.
We conducted a cluster randomized trial evaluating the effect of a centralized coordinator who identifies and follows up with fracture patients and their primary care physicians about osteoporosis. Compared with controls, intervention patients were five times more likely to receive BMD testing and two times more likely to receive appropriate management.
To determine if a centralized coordinator who follows up with fracture patients and their primary care physicians by telephone and mail (intervention) will increase the proportion of patients who receive appropriate post-fracture osteoporosis management, compared to simple fall prevention advice (attention control).
A cluster randomized controlled trial was conducted in small community hospitals in the province of Ontario, Canada. Hospitals that treated between 60 and 340 fracture patients per year were eligible. Patients 40 years and older presenting with a low trauma fracture were identified from Emergency Department records and enrolled in the trial. The primary outcome was 'appropriate' management, defined as a normal bone mineral density (BMD) test or taking osteoporosis medications.
Thirty-six hospitals were randomized to either intervention or control and 130 intervention and 137 control subjects completed the study. The mean age of participants was 65 ± 12 years and 69% were female. The intervention increased the proportion of patients who received appropriate management within 6 months of fracture; 45% in the intervention group compared with 26% in the control group (absolute difference of 19%; adjusted OR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.3-4.1). The proportion who had a BMD test scheduled or performed was much higher with 57% of intervention patients compared with 21% of controls (absolute difference of 36%; adjusted OR, 4.8; 95% CI, 3.0-7.0).
A centralized osteoporosis coordinator is effective in improving the quality of osteoporosis care in smaller communities that do not have on-site coordinators or direct access to osteoporosis specialists.