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According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, an estimated 10 million Americans have osteoporosis. Each year, there will be 2 million fractures, 432,000 hospital admissions and 180,000 nursing home admissions due to the disease, amounting to $19 billion in related costs every year. By 2025, experts predict that osteoporosis will be responsible for approximately 3 million fractures and $25.3 billion in costs annually.
Even with the increase in people affected by osteoporosis and the availability of clinical guidelines, bone health screening and promotion are not at adequate levels. Underdiagnosis and undertreatment of osteopenia and osteoporosis are major health concerns in the United States and abroad. In a retrospective review of Medicare data, which included 126,188 women 66 years of age and older, only 27.9% of women diagnosed with osteoporosis began treatment within a year of diagnosis. In another study, 71.4% of 109,826 women diagnosed with osteoporosis between 2007 and 2011 were not receiving treatment in 2012.
A 2020 study found that interventions involving patients significantly improved the prescription of bone density measurement and treatment prescription, while interventions to improve osteoporosis management had a significant, positive impact on the prescription of bone density measurement but a more limited impact on treatment prescription. Novel initiatives, such as the NP fracture liaison role, may also improve outcomes and alleviate financial burden by reducing secondary fracture and complications.
However, in the context of a busy primary care practice, challenges to osteoporosis screening and treatment are likely exacerbated by multiple and divergent treatment guidelines, as well as the complexity of screening and diagnostic options. NPs likely have limited time and resource capacity for consolidating and implementing an evidence-based osteoporosis practice. A need exists among NPs for expert assistance in navigating the large and complex paradigms of osteoporosis screening and treatment.
In honor of National Osteoporosis Month, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) is interested in developing a continuing education (CE) program for NPs to expand their current knowledge in identifying, diagnosing and managing osteoporosis. You can play an integral role in the development of high-quality NP CE programs by sharing your experience and interest in osteoporosis.
Simply take the survey below to indicate your interest!