e-Learning for osteoporosis and vertebral fractures

Published: 21 April 2020 Learning

The Royal Osteoporosis Society has been working with Health Education England and the SoR to develop four e-Learning for Healthcare training modules for osteoporosis and fragility fractures.

Someone breaks a bone every minute of the day in the UK due to osteoporosis. Many of these fractures - including the 66,000 hip fractures a year which currently take up 1 in 33 beds in Wales and 1 in 45 beds in England and Northern Ireland - can be prevented through better identification of the most common osteoporotic fracture: vertebral fracture.

Better identification of vertebral fracture represents a significant opportunity to improve healthcare outcomes because timely treatment can reduce the risk of further fracture by 50-70% in just six to 12 months.

Vertebral fractures, however, can be difficult to diagnose, with individuals affected typically visiting their GP 14 times due to unidentified back pain before they get a diagnosis.

With two-thirds of vertebral fractures currently going undiagnosed, a practicable solution is to ensure that radiographers, who are in a strong position to first identify fragility fractures while performing x-rays on patients, be trained on the importance of their role for recognising fragility fractures and vertebral fractures in particular. This creates an important opportunity for them to alert reporting and referring clinicians that there is a risk of further fracture for these patients, so those affected can be given access to best care to reduce the risk of further fractures.

The modules represent valuable CPD for radiographers working in emergency departments, fracture clinics, and reporting plain film imaging of fractures.

They also represent a valuable development opportunity for radiologists who come across opportunities to identify previously unreported vertebral fractures when reporting on scans not directly related to the spine, but where this is still visible, such as CT chest, abdomen and pelvis examinations.

The modules will enable radiographers and reporting clinicians to:

  1. Understand what osteoporosis is and common causes
  2. Recognise a fragility fracture and associated injuries
  3. Understand the importance of reporting vertebral fractures
  4. Increase vertebral fracture identification

Access the modules.