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Report: Most Fracture Patients Treated in Clinics or Hospitals Are Not Screened for Osteoporosis

Foundation recommends use of dedicated coordinator to act as link between clinicians and patient (Oct. 11)

Approximately 80% of patients treated in clinics or hospitals following a fracture are not screened for osteoporosis or the risk of future falls, according to a report issued on October 11 by the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF).

The report calls for concerted worldwide efforts to stop secondary fractures due to osteoporosis by implementing proven models of care.

“Half of all individuals who go on to suffer a hip fracture have already come to clinical attention because of a prior fragility fracture,” said Prof. Bess Dawson-Hughes, General Secretary of the IOF. “It is obvious that health professionals are missing a clear warning signal. All too often the broken bone is simply repaired and the patient is sent home without proper diagnosis and management of the underlying cause of the fracture.”

Around the world, up to 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men over 50 years of age will suffer a fragility fracture, according to the IOF report. Fractures are a serious burden on older people and on healthcare budgets, with costs exceeding that of many other age-related diseases, including stroke, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease.

“In the U.S., we know there are two million bone breaks that occur each year due to osteoporosis,” said Professor Robert Lindsay, chief of Internal Medicine at Helen Hayes Hospital, Columbia University. “The sad reality is only two in 10 patients with initial bone breaks get a follow-up test or treatment for osteoporosis. The number of annual fractures is expected to swell to around three million and cost the healthcare system $25 billion per year by 2025.”

The IOF report notes that the majority of successful systems for secondary fracture prevention throughout the world have employed a dedicated coordinator. The coordinator acts as a link between the orthopedic team, the osteoporosis and falls services, the patient, and the primary care physician.

For more information, visit the IOF Web site.

International Osteoporosis Foundation

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