Article Title

Using electronic medical records to assess the rate of treatment for osteoporosis in Australia


Background and objectives: Despite available Medicare Benefits Schedule subsidies, it has been suggested that screening and treatment for osteoporosis are under-accessed in Australia, particularly in patients ≥70 years. This study describes the rate of osteoporosis treatment in those aged ≥70 years in regional New South Wales as identified in the electronic medical records (EMR) of 11 general practices.

Methods: EMR data were extracted using a Canning Tool adaptation. The prevalence of osteoporosis, fracture and bone-active medication prescriptions were described, and associations examined.

Results: Osteoporosis was identified in 728 patients (20.9%) – 28.6% females and 9.4% males – with 70.6% of these patients prescribed active medication. Diagnosis increased with fracture history (odds ratio [OR]: 6.65; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 5.22, 8.47), female gender (OR: 3.38; 95% CI: 2.73, 4.16) and each year older (OR: 1.04; 95% CI: 1.02, 1.05). Treatment was negatively associated with patients aged ≥90 years versus patients aged 70–79 years (OR: 0.5; 95% CI: 0.3, 0.9).

Discussion: This study suggests that treatment for osteoporosis is suboptimal. The use of EMR data could be used for audit or monitoring of interventions in general practice.

© The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners 2017. Abstract reproduced in Research Online with permission.


osteoporosis, screening, treatment, monitoring treatment, Australia, New South Wales

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