Effectiveness of interventions to improve the detection and treatment of osteoporosis in primary care settings: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Osteoporos Int. 2011 Nov;22(11):2743-68. doi: 10.1007/s00198-011-1557-6. Epub 2011 Feb 19.


This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of primary care interventions to improve the detection and treatment of osteoporosis. Eight electronic databases and six gray literature sources were searched. Randomized controlled trials, controlled clinical trials, quasi-randomized trials, controlled before-after studies, and interrupted time series written in English or French from 1985 to 2009 were considered. Eligible studies had to include patients at risk (women ≥ 65 years, men ≥ 70 years, and men/women ≥ 50 years with at least one major risk factor for osteoporosis) or at high risk (men/women using oral glucocorticoids or with previous fragility fractures) for osteoporosis and fractures. Outcomes included bone mineral density (BMD) testing, osteoporosis treatment initiation, and fractures. Data were pooled using a random effects model when applicable. Thirteen studies were included. The majority were multifaceted and involved patient educational material, physician notification, and/or physician education. Absolute differences in the incidence of BMD testing ranged from 22% to 51% for high-risk patients only and from 4% to 18% for both at-risk and high-risk patients. Absolute differences in the incidence of osteoporosis treatment initiation ranged from 18% to 29% for high-risk patients only and from 2% to 4% for at-risk and high-risk patients. Pooling the results of six trials showed an increased incidence of osteoporosis treatment initiation (risk difference (RD) = 20%; 95% CI: 7-33%) and of BMD testing and/or osteoporosis treatment initiation (RD = 40%; 95% CI: 32-48%) for high-risk patients following intervention. Multifaceted interventions targeting high-risk patients and their primary care providers may improve the management of osteoporosis, but improvements are often clinically modest.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bone Density
  • Controlled Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Female
  • Glucocorticoids / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis* / diagnosis
  • Osteoporosis* / drug therapy
  • Osteoporotic Fractures / prevention & control*
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Glucocorticoids