Osteoporosis care during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Netherlands: A national survey

Joséphine Jeanne Maria Peeters*, Peter van den Berg, Joop P. van den Bergh, Marielle H. Emmelot-Vonk, Gijs de Klerk, Willem F. Lems, Elizabeth M. Winter, M. Carola Zillikens, Natasha M. Appelman-Dijkstra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Summary: This is a survey study concerning osteoporosis care during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Netherlands. Respondents reported that osteoporosis care stagnated and lower quality of care was provided. This leads to the conclusion that standardization of osteoporosis care delivery in situations of crisis is needed. Purpose: During the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no guidance of professional societies or guidelines on the organization of osteoporosis care in case of such a crisis, and treatment relied on local ad hoc strategies. Experiences from the current pandemic need to be taken into account for the near future, and therefore, a national multidisciplinary survey was carried out in the Netherlands. Methods: A survey of 17 questions concerning the continuation of bone mineral density measurements by Dual Energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), outpatient clinic visits, and prescription of medication was sent to physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants working in the field of osteoporosis. Results: 77 respondents finished the questionnaire, of whom 39 (50.6%) reported a decline in DXA-scanning and 36 (46.8%) no scanning at all during the pandemic. There was an increase in remote consultations for both new and control patient visits (n = 48, 62.3%; n = 62, 81.7% respectively). Lower quality of care regarding fracture prevention was reported by more than half of the respondents (n = 44, 57.1%). Treatment with intravenous bisphosphonates and denosumab was delayed according to 35 (45.4%) and 6 (6.3%) of the respondents, respectively. Conclusion: During the COVID-19 pandemic, osteoporosis care almost completely arrested, especially because of the discontinuation of DXA-scanning and closing of outpatient clinics. More than half of the respondents reported a substantial lower quality of osteoporosis care during the COVID pandemic. To prevent an increase in fracture rates and a decrease in patient motivation, adherence and satisfaction, standardization of osteoporosis care delivery in situations of crisis is needed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number11
JournalArchives of Osteoporosis
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021

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