World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases Presentations: Trends in Osteoporotic Incidences and Care during the COVID-19 Pandemic
September 1, 2022

A real-world evidence study examining COVID-19 pandemic disruptions in osteoporosis care patterns and outcomes across Alberta, Canada, was presented through two posters at the World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases, March 24, 2022. This study was sponsored by Amgen Canada and was in collaboration with expert clinical advisors Dr. Brown, Dr. Kendler, Dr. Juby, Dr. Schneider and Medlior.

The first poster, presented by Dr. Brown, focused on the differences in the number of low-energy fractures and time-to-surgery complications and deaths post-surgery in patients with fractures before and during the COVID-19 pandemic in Alberta. A repeated cross-sectional study design captured outcomes of interest for patients aged 50 years and older between March 15, 2017, and September 14, 2020. Descriptive analytics were conducted between three-month periods in the three years preceding the COVID-19 pandemic and in the first two periods after restrictions were implemented.

Figure 1. Number of Patients with Low Energy Fractures Over the Study Period

The study showcased that patients presenting to the hospital with low-energy fracture rates, associated surgeries, and surgical outcomes declined slightly but largely remained stable in the first few months of the pandemic.

The second poster, presented by Dr. Kendler, described changes in osteoporosis-related care patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic in Alberta. Utilizing the same study design, descriptive statistics were calculated to summarize the frequency of osteoporosis diagnostic codes, physician visits, diagnostic and laboratory test volumes, treatment prescription initiations and treatment disruptions.

Figure 2. Overall number of patients with osteoporosis-related healthcare encounters in Alberta, Canada, by three-month control and COVID-19 periods

Figure 3. Initiations (A) and Disruptions > 60 days (B) of osteoporosis-related treatments in Alberta, Canada by three-month control and COVID-19 periods

osteoporosis-related treatments

The study demonstrated that the COVID-19 pandemic and corresponding public health lockdowns altered the provision of care. While most healthcare resource utilization returned to pre-pandemic levels following the ease of lockdowns from June to September 2020 (Figure 2), this now includes telehealth visits, accounting for 33-45% of healthcare encounters during the COVID-19 periods. Additionally, treatment initiations declined during the lockdown and remained lower in the June to September COVID period relative to the control period (Figure 3). This abstract and poster were also an encore abstract at the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research 2021 Annual Meeting.

The full results from this real-world study have now been published in the Archives of Osteoporosis:

Oliveira T, Brown J, Juby A.G. Schneider P, Wani R.J. Packalen M, Avcil S, Li S, Farris M, Graves E, McMullen S & Kendler D.L. Trends in osteoporosis care patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic in Alberta, Canada. Read more. 

Oliveira T, Kendler D.L, Schneider P, Juby A.G., Wani R.J., Packalen M, Avcil S, Li S, Waters-Banker CGraves E, McMullen S & Brown J. Trends in osteoporotic fracture and related in-hospital complications during the COVID-19 pandemic in Alberta, Canada.  Read more.