An international task force has called on health care providers to aggressively identify and provide care for patients who have sustained their first osteoporosis-related fracture to prevent subsequent fractures, according to a report published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.
The task force, according to an American Society for Bone and Mineral Research news release, recommended a solution that included fracture liaison services — a system of patient care coordination shown to significantly improve follow-up assessment and treatment following an initial fracture, reducing the likelihood of further fractures. The most significant barrier to widespread use of this model, according to the report, is lack of insurance coverage.
“We learned what works and what doesn’t,” task force co-chair Ethel S. Siris, MD, stated in the release. “The research is clear: Fracture liaison services are saving suffering, and they are saving money.”
The task force, representing 36 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, South America, Europe and North America, reviewed and summarized international data on barriers to the implementation of fracture risk-reduction strategies, as well as evidence regarding different systematic international approaches, logical background and medical and ethical rationales.
Fracture liaison services work to educate the patient, getting the patient seen for medical management and following up to assure the patient is taking the necessary medications to prevent future fractures. In the report, the task force outlines evidence supporting widespread implementation of — and insurance coverage for — these services for patients 50 years of age or older who sustain a fracture.
“We know that once a first fracture occurs, the risk of additional fractures is high,” Siris stated. “Targeting these individuals for treatment to reduce the possibility of more fractures will save a lot of human suffering and tremendous expense to the health care budget.”
Eisman JA, Bogoch ER, Dell R, et al. Making the first fracture the last fracture: ASBMR task force report on secondary fracture prevention. J Bone Min Res. 2012. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.1698