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Effective Communication and the Osteoporosis Care Gap

Paskins, Zoe



Many pharmacological treatments are now available to prevent the occurrence of fragility fractures in patients with osteoporosis. Despite this there are persisting concerns that many individuals who might benefit from osteoporosis treatment do not receive it – the so called “osteoporosis treatment gap”. The underlying reasons for this gap are diverse and include those who are not identified as being eligible for treatment as well as those who intentionally choose not to take medications because of uncertainty, unanswered questions or inability to understand or do what is being asked of them. In this perspective article we highlight the importance of providing information on the causes and consequences of osteoporosis during encounters when treatment is being discussed as well as what osteoporosis treatment can achieve and what it cannot. We also review the importance of communicating the benefits and risks of treatment in absolute terms so that patients can understand what taking treatment will mean for them and discuss the utility of decision aids to assist in these conversations. We suggest it is not the treatment gap which is the problem but the care gap. This language acknowledges the importance of healthcare providers identifying those likely to benefit from treatment and increasing the quality of clinical conversations to promote patient engagement and involvement, while respecting that treatment is not suitable or wanted by all.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 31, 2022
Online Publication Date Sep 8, 2022
Publication Date 2022-11
Publicly Available Date Sep 9, 2023
Journal Journal of Bone and Mineral Research
Print ISSN 0884-0431
Publisher American Society for Bone and Mineral Research
Volume 37
Issue 11
Pages 2049-2054
Keywords Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
Publisher URL