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Geisinger rheumatologists redesign osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis care
Date:11/16/2007

DANVILLE, PA. With the nation collectively spending about $18 billion per year on osteoporosis related bone fractures, Geisinger researchers found that streamlining the ordering process for osteoporosis bone density scans quadrupled the number of patients who received the exam.

An estimated 10 million Americans suffer from osteoporosis. Like most providers, Geisinger Health System measures the mineral content in the bones of patients who are at high-risk for osteoporosis through DXA scans.

Follow-up exams are usually needed to assess how the disease has progressed. Geisingers rheumatology department removed some of the steps involved, shifted the responsibility of ordering the exam from the patients primary care provider to the rheumatology staff and made greater use of Geisingers $80 million Electronic Health Record.

Before the change, 18% of patients received the test. After the test, 88% received the scan.

A broken bone from osteoporosis can be excruciating and hard to recover from, said Eric Newman, MD, Geisingers Rheumatology Director. Testing for osteoporosis is the first step in preventing these breaks.

Results of the study were presented at the American College of Rheumatologys annual meeting in Boston recently. Geisinger had four presentations at the meeting, the most ever for the department.

The other work included:

  • Plenary Presentation - The first in-depth study of new care recommendations that were issued by the American College of Rheumatology. Geisinger examined the records of over 1,000 patients with rheumatoid arthritis to see how many patients received certain suggested care benchmarks such as joint exams and use of medication.

Among the studys key findings was that 94% of the patients received disease modifying antirheumatic drugs, which ease pain, reduce inflammation and reduce or prevent joint damage. This was far higher than anticipated, Newman noted.<
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Contact: Justin Walden
jawalden@geisinger.edu
570-271-8083
Geisinger Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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