Clinical decision support tools for osteoporosis disease management: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials

J Gen Intern Med. 2008 Dec;23(12):2095-105. doi: 10.1007/s11606-008-0812-9. Epub 2008 Oct 4.


Background: Studies indicate a gap between evidence and clinical practice in osteoporosis management. Tools that facilitate clinical decision making at the point of care are promising strategies for closing these practice gaps.

Objective: To systematically review the literature to identify and describe the effectiveness of tools that support clinical decision making in osteoporosis disease management.

Data sources: Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL, and EBM Reviews (CDSR, DARE, CCTR, and ACP J Club), and contact with experts in the field.

Review methods: Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in any language from 1966 to July 2006 investigating disease management interventions in patients at risk for osteoporosis. Outcomes included fractures and bone mineral density (BMD) testing. Two investigators independently assessed articles for relevance and study quality, and extracted data using standardized forms.

Results: Of 1,246 citations that were screened for relevance, 13 RCTs met the inclusion criteria. Reported study quality was generally poor. Meta-analysis was not done because of methodological and clinical heterogeneity; 77% of studies included a reminder or education as a component of their intervention. Three studies of reminders plus education targeted to physicians and patients showed increased BMD testing (RR range 1.43 to 8.67) and osteoporosis medication use (RR range 1.60 to 8.67). A physician reminder plus a patient risk assessment strategy found reduced fractures [RR 0.58, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.37 to 0.90] and increased osteoporosis therapy (RR 2.44, CI 1.43 to 4.17).

Conclusion: Multi-component tools that are targeted to physicians and patients may be effective for supporting clinical decision making in osteoporosis disease management.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Disease Management
  • Fractures, Bone / etiology
  • Fractures, Bone / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Osteoporosis / complications
  • Osteoporosis / diagnosis*
  • Osteoporosis / therapy*
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / methods*
  • Risk Factors