This week I spent 2 days advising Orthopedic Surgeons about how to deal with Osteoporotic patients. Identifying the Osteoporotic (Fragility) Fracture is the easy part. Correcting the Osteoporosis is more challenging.
Orthopods are often too busy treating the recent fracture to do a complete work-up and initiate correction of the Osteoporosis. Unfortunately, many pimary care docs are also too busy treating (now out of control because of the fracture) diabetes, hypertension, heart failure, pulmonary problems, etc in the weeks after a fracture. Setting up a system is key to getting a complete bone health evaluation and treatment before everyone, patient included, forgets to try to prevent further fractures.
At the Iowa Orthopedic Society meeting, I spoke with several orthopods and their staffs about ways to assure that all their fracture patients receive appropriate care. That is a full office visit about nothing but bone health. Ideally this would be with their primary care doc. In practice, a combined bone health service more often avoids patients falling through the cracks.
I met with members of a large Orthopedic and Neurosurgical group practice. These docs not only want to deal with their fracture patients, but also want to optimize bone health BEFORE elective surgeries such as total joint replacements and spine fusions!
These Orthopods and Neurosurgeons get it. Their patients will benefit from lower fracture risk and lower risk of other complications due to poor bone quality! That is improved patient care!
Jay Ginther, MD