Background: We are not aware of any previous investigation assessing a national cohort of patients enrolled in a fracture liaison service (FLS) program in an open health-care system to ascertain prevalent practice patterns. The objective of this investigation was to determine, in a geographically diverse group of centers in a single FLS program, the percentage of patients for whom anti-osteoporosis treatment was recommended or started as well as to identify associations between patient and fracture variables and the likelihood of treatment being recommended.
Methods: The study utilized the Own the Bone program registry, which included 32,671 unique patient records with the required data. The primary outcome measure was whether a recommendation to start anti-osteoporosis treatment was made to the patient at the time of program enrollment. The associations between patient and fracture variables and the likelihood of having treatment recommended were calculated.
Results: Anti-osteoporosis treatment was recommended to 72.8% of patients and was initiated for 12.1%. A sedentary lifestyle and a parent who had sustained a hip fracture increased the likelihood of a treatment recommendation by 10% and 12%, respectively. While patients with a spinal fracture were 11% more likely to have received a treatment recommendation, those with a hip fracture were 2% less likely to have received such a recommendation. Age was not strongly associated with the likelihood of receiving a treatment recommendation but was associated with the initiation of treatment.
Conclusions: Practitioners at sites in the Own the Bone program recommend anti-osteoporosis treatment, at the time of initial evaluation, to about three-quarters of patients who present with a fragility fracture. This is a very strong improvement over previously reported national data. The findings that a hip fracture had the lowest association and age had very little association with the likelihood of recommending treatment were unexpected and perhaps deserve further investigation.
Clinical relevance: FLS programs and sites as well as all those who manage patients with a fragility fracture can utilize the information derived from this study to improve practice patterns for the care of these patients.