Want to learn more about the Self Consult Program? Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about the Self Consult Program (SCP):
What does the SCP offer my patients?
Many post menopausal women and older men (the at-risk population) are avid health information consumers and desire both education and informed decision making processes around the decision to take or not take anti-fracture medications. A full consultation that covers all such aspects and options may take 30 to 45 minutes and may be increasingly unrealistic in a primary care environment. Specialist consultation is available but has lengthy wait lists and requires travel to the centre of Calgary.
The SCP is a 2-hour osteoporosis-oriented group medical visit of 10 to 15 patients, conducted by an osteoporosis specialist team, in or near a patient’s medical catchment area.
What happens during a SCP session?
Prior to the session, patients receive either web-based or in-class teaching about osteoporosis basics including diet/exercise and fracture prevention. At the actual SCP meeting, patients will get an understanding of how to interpret their Bone Density, how to estimate their risk of osteoporotic fracture and an overview of the anti-fracture interventions available. Most importantly, patients are guided through a step-by-step informed decision making process that will permit them to ask questions and weigh options, while learning from both the team and the questions of other patients in the session.
How does the SCP session translate to action?
Throughout the course of the session, patients are guided into filling out a standardized "Osteoporosis Consultation Form" that will capture their personal risk data, options and decisions. This is reviewed by the specialist team for completeness and accuracy. Upon completion of the session, patients will leave with a copy of their consultation and a second copy is faxed to their primary care physician. Patients are encouraged to review their decisions with their primary care doctor as well. If a patient has chosen the option of treatment, they are given a practical hand-out that contains all the necessary information and forms to facilitate access to their medication of choice which may then be implemented by their primary care doctor if in agreement.
I’m still not sure about how to implement my patient’s medical choices, is there any help?
The Osteoporosis Centre maintains a permanent record of each patient and their consultation in our electronic file, just like any clinic patient. Phone support and consultation are available to any primary care doctor who has any questions about access or follow up. As well, our clinic website has an up-to-date section with all the forms and details needed to start osteoporosis medications.
What kind of patients are ideal for the SCP?
Generally speaking, as a group medical program, the SCP is geared toward generally healthy older women and men who speak and understand English well enough to participate. Participants should be capable of making their own informed health decisions and have a primary care physician.
What kind of patients are not accepted into the SCP?
- Patients with complex medical problems including renal impairment (eGFR<45)
- Patient who are currently taking osteoporosis medications for > 1 year
- Patients who are starting or are on a bisphosphonate "holiday" of less than 3 years
How do I refer a patient to the SCP?
A standard referral to the Osteoporosis Centre is all that is needed, available on our website. You may specify "for SCP consideration." A bone density scan from within the past 5 years may be helpful but is not necessary. Patients will receive a screening phone call to ensure they fit the necessary patient profile and to confirm their agreement to the process.