Vermont Business Magazine The University of Vermont – Central Vermont Medical Center (CVMC) this week launches the American Orthopaedic Association (AOA)’s Own the Bone program, aimed at better identifying, evaluating and treating patients with osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a medical condition in which the bones become brittle and fragile, and can contribute to low bone density-related fragility fractures, specifically those resulting from standing-height or lower falls.
Own the Bone brings focus to the severe health implications of fragility fractures and the multi-faceted approaches hospitals can employ in ensuring patients receive the most comprehensive care.
Own the Bone is a national web-based quality improvement registry that incorporates 10 measures for reducing future fractures and provides CVMC with immediate feedback on program performance to measure success. It also benchmarks CVMC against other medical institutions.
Data entered in the registry can be immediately quantified, offering real-time insight into how actions are positively affecting patient care.
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), up to 50 percent of all women and 25 percent of men over age 50 will sustain fragility fractures in their lifetimes. The American Bone Health Prevalence Report states that more people in the United States suffer fragility fractures each year than are diagnosed with heart attacks, strokes or breast cancer combined. These figures are projected to increase as the population ages.
And according to the National Committee for Quality Assurance, only 1 in 5 Medicare patients have received the osteoporosis care (s)he needed after a fracture.
With Own the Bone, CVMC reduces any treatment gaps, ensuring patients with fragility fractures are screened and appropriately treated for low bone density or osteoporosis.
Dr. Teresa A. Fama, a member of The American Board of Internal Medicine and The American Board of Internal Medicine – Rheumatology, is leading efforts to implement Own the Bone at CVMC. Inspiration for joining the initiative sprung from the findings of Dr. Fama and her board-certified partners in rheumatology at CVMC, Drs. Christine Jones and Kevin Kerin. Each noted changes in the ways patients were choosing to treat osteoporosis.
“In general, we’ve seen a decrease in the number of women, in particular, taking medications for osteoporosis,” Dr. Fama said, resulting in greater fragility and increased risk of fracture.
AOA studies demonstrate patients who’ve had a fragility fracture are 2 to 4 times more likely to experience another fracture than those who’ve never had a fracture. These findings underscored CVMC’s drive for greater education and prevention.
“We heal and treat the fracture well, but we weren’t actively trying to prevent another fracture,” Dr. Fama explained.
Own the Bone aims to change that by engaging patients, from the moment they’re admitted with a fracture, through discharge.
Fabienne Pattison, RN, spearheading CVMC’s initiative, explained new protocols trigger visits from a rheumatologist and fracture liaison service nurse, charged with monitoring patients during their hospital stays and beyond.
“A consultation with rheumatology will be added to admission orders, assuring patients are also seen in the hospital by a fracture liaison service nurse,” Pattison said. “These nurses will initiate contact with patients during their hospital stays, through discharge planning and follow up, and after they’ve been discharged home or to post-acute rehabilitation.”
“A comprehensive, multi-specialty approach will greatly reduce repeat fragility fractures for at-risk patients,” said Dr. Douglas R. Dirschl, past AOA president. “Own the Bone gives hospitals the tools needed to address and curb this major health crisis.”
About the University of Vermont Health Network
The University of Vermont Health Network is a five-hospital system serving the residents of Vermont and northern New York with a shared mission: working together, we improve people’s lives. The partners are:
- The University of Vermont Medical Center;
- The University of Vermont Health Network – Alice Hyde Medical Center;
- The University of Vermont Health Network – Central Vermont Medical Center;
- The University of Vermont Health Network – Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital;
- The University of Vermont Health Network – Elizabethtown Community Hospital.
Its 4,000 health care professionals are driven to provide high-quality, cost-efficient care as close to home as possible. Strengthened by its academic connection to the University of Vermont, each hospital remains committed to its local community by providing compassionate, personal care shaped by the latest medical advances and delivered by highly skilled experts.
About the AOA
The American Orthopaedic Association, founded in 1887, is the oldest national orthopaedic association in the world. The AOA’s mission is to identify, develop, engage and recognize leadership to further the art and science of orthopaedics. For more information visit www.aoassn.org or call 847-318-7336.