The five-year study is the first of its kind to assess more than 625,000 male and female patients over the age of 50 in Southern California who had specific risk factors for osteoporosis and/or hip fractures.
It was found that the implementation of a number of initiatives in the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Healthy Bones Program, successfully reduced hip fracture rates beyond the goal rate of 25 percent.
"One-half of all women and one-third of all men will sustain a fragility fracture in their lifetime. The mortality rate due to osteoporosis-related fractures is greater than the rates for breast cancer and cervical cancer combined," said study lead author Richard M. Dell, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at the Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center.
He added: "Yet it's a misconception that nothing can be done to prevent or treat osteoporosis. It is possible to achieve at least a 25 percent reduction in the hip fracture rate in the United States if a more active role is taken by all orthopedic surgeons in osteoporosis disease management."
Physicians, who were participating in the study, implemented a number of initiatives, which included increasing the use of bone density test (DXA scans) and anti-osteoporosis medications; adding osteoporosis education and home health programs; and standardizing the practice guidelines for osteoporosis management.
"Significant improvements in hip fracture rates are achievable wherever orthopedic surgeons and treatment teams are willing to take a more active role in osteoporosis disease management," said Dell.
The study was published online in the latest issue of The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, a peer-reviewed journal.