Time to find a systems-level model for a serious, undermanaged, but preventable problem
For over 20 years, we have known that osteoporotic fractures predispose to further fractures and significant morbidity.1,2 We also understand that first and subsequent fragility fractures are associated with premature death.2-4 However, surprisingly little has happened over the past two decades to translate this knowledge into good clinical practice for our patients. Of course, anyone presenting with a low-trauma fracture to an Australian hospital will get it fixed in due time. But little happens after that. Nobody seems to ask why that person had a low-trauma fracture (or a second or third one) to begin with. Indeed, 75%–80% of patients who have had an osteoporotic fracture are neither being investigated nor treated for their underlying condition — osteoporosis.5,6 This systematic failure is all the more shocking as we have available to us not only one of the world’s best medical systems, but also subsidised pharmacotherapies with proven efficacy to reduce the risk of (re)fracture.7
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