Lahey’s Bone Health Program Earns National Recognition


Lahey Hospital & Medical Center’s Fragility Fracture Liaison Service has been recognized as a Star Performer by the American Orthopaedic Association and is listed in US News and World Report for 2016 for its success in treating and preventing bone fractures.

Lahey developed a comprehensive fragility fracture program in 2012 to optimize the outcomes of people recovering from fractures, particularly older patients. The program brings together experts in orthopaedic surgery, hospital medicine, anesthesiology, physical and occupational therapy, case management, and others to offer a personalized treatment plan to patients who have broken a hip or femur.

“Our goal was to develop a pathway to best manage these patients,” said Andrew Marcantonio, DO, MBA, Lahey’s Chief of Bone Health. “Since our program went into effect, we’ve seen a decrease in door-to-surgery time for hip fracture patients, decreased length of hospital stay and decreased readmission rates, which shows that we’re taking even better care of our patients. We’re doing more on the prevention side.”

Prevention is Key

The American Orthopaedic Association (AOA) recognizes that outstanding hospitals don't simply treat fragility fractures – their goal is to prevent fractures from happening again. Lahey was among 72 participating institutions nationwide that received Star Performer recognition. In order to be recognized, an organization must achieve a 75% or higher compliance rate on at least 5 of 10 fragility fracture prevention measures.

Lahey also has been awarded premiere certification from the International Geriatric Fracture Society (IGFS) for excellent care of fractures in the elderly. Lahey was only the sixth hospital in the U.S. to achieve this designation and the first in New England.

Through Lahey’s Fragility Fracture Liaison Service, patient care is coordinated by a nurse practitioner who can order diagnostic studies to help detect osteoporosis, a bone-thinning disorder, and prescribe medication to help rebuild bones. Patients at risk for fractures are seen at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center in Burlington as well as at Beverly Hospital, Addison-Gilbert Hospital, and the Lahey Medical Center, Peabody.

Advice and Support

In many cases, simple lifestyle changes can greatly reduce bone fractures in the future. Some of the services of Lahey’s Fragility Fracture Liaison Service include advising and supporting patients in areas such as:

  • The role of calcium and vitamin D in bone health
  • Healthy eating and exercise to help keep bones strong
  • Fall prevention
  • Smoking cessation
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Bone mineral testing
  • And more

Conditions that can make a person more likely to break a bone include advancing age, rheumatoid arthritis, a family history of osteoporosis, and certain medications such as corticosteroids, antiseizure drugs, and thyroid drugs. Patients concerned about their fracture risk may make an appointment with the Fragility Fracture Liaison Service by calling 781.744.8638.

“Beginning around age 50, bone tends to break down rather than build up,” Dr. Marcantonio explained. “What we offer is comprehensive care for patients, where they can get the treatment they need and preventive services to help avoid a bone injury in the future.”