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Introducing mobile fracture prevention services with DXA in Northern Scotland: a comparative study of three rural communities

Hollick RJ1, McKee L2, Shim J3, Ramsay N4, Gerring S4, Reid DM5, Black AJ4.

Osteoporos Int. 2020 Feb 21. doi: 10.1007/s00198-020-05316-0. [Epub ahead of print]

Mobile fracture prevention services, with DXA, significantly improved access to care for those at high risk of fracture living in rural areas. Introduction of mobile services facilitated access to fracture liaison services and development of integrated of care pathways across community- and secondary-based care.

The ageing population is growing faster in rural areas, yet most fracture prevention services are located in urban areas. As part of a wider study, evaluating the introduction of mobile fracture prevention services, we focus on whether mobile services improve access to care for those at highest risk of fracture.

Services outcomes were assessed against the Royal Osteoporosis Society clinical standards for fracture liaison services. This included standardised, age-specific referral rates, FRAX 10-year probability of major osteoporotic and hip fracture of referrals, pre- and post-introduction of the mobile service across two island and one rural mainland sites. This was compared with referrals from a similar rural mainland region with local access to a comprehensive service.

Greatest impact occurred in areas with most limited service provision at baseline. Mean age of patients referred increased from 59 to 68 years (CI 6.8-10.1, p < 0.001). Referral rates increased from 2.8 to 5.4 per 1000 population between 2011 and 2018, with a 5-fold rise in those ≥ 75 years (0.4 to 2.0 per 1000). Mean FRAX 10-year risk of major osteoporotic fracture increased from 12.7 to 17.7% (CI 3.2-5.7, p < 0.001). Mean hip fracture risk probability increased from 3.0 to 5.7% (CI 2.0-3.4, p < 0.001). However, referral rates from the mobile sites remained lower than the comparator site. CONCLUSIONS: Mobile fracture prevention services, including DXA, greatly improved uptake amongst high-risk individuals. Mobile services facilitated development of integrated of care pathways, including fracture liaison services, across community- and secondary-based care.