Effective communication regarding risk of fracture for individuals at risk of fragility fracture: a scoping review

C. Beaudart*, M. Hiligsmann, N.N. Li, E.M. Lewiecki, S. Silverman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review

3 Citations (Web of Science)


A Summary Two scoping reviews were conducted to review recommendations and guidelines for communication regarding general health risk, and to investigate communication strategies regarding risk of fracture. Healthcare professionals are invited to apply these recommendations to optimize a patient-centered approach to reducing risk of fracture.Introduction To conduct a scoping review of the medical literature regarding recommendations and tools for effective communication between healthcare professionals and patients regarding general health risk and risk of fracture.Methods The scoping review was divided into two parts to search for (1) studies presenting recommendations and guidelines for communication regarding general health risk; (2) studies investigating communication regarding risk of fracture for individuals at risk for fractures. Medline was searched in April 2020 to identify relevant studies.Results The scoping review included 43 studies on communication with regard to general health risk and 25 studies about communication regarding risk of fracture. Recommendations for effective communication with regard to risk are presented. Communication of numeric data on risk should be adapted to the literacy and numeracy levels of the individual patient. Patient understanding of numerical data can be enhanced with appropriate use of visual aids (e.g., pie charts, icon arrays, bar charts, pictograms). The FRAX (R) tool is the most recommended and most used tool for assessing risk of fracture. Communication sent as individualized letters to patients following DXA scans has been studied, although patient understanding of their risk of fracture is often reported as low using this technique. Use of visual aids may improve patient understanding.Conclusion Healthcare professionals are encouraged to apply recommendations presented in this scoping review in their clinical practice. Patient understanding of risk of fracture should be confirmed by making sure that patients feel free to ask questions and express their concerns. This will contribute to an optimal patient-centered approach. Developing online tools to convert the probability of fracture into patient-friendly visual presentations could facilitate communication between healthcare professionals and patients about risk of fracture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-26
Number of pages14
JournalOsteoporosis International
Issue number1
Early online date24 Sep 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • Risk communication
  • Osteoporosis
  • Scoping review
  • Fracture risk
  • CARE

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