QFracture validated as a key tool for clinicians

12 Jul 2011

Oxford University’s Centre for Statistics in Medicine has released independent validation of fragility fracture risk assessment tool QFracture, supporting its inclusion in the recent draft NICE guidelines on preventing osteoporotic fracture.

QFracture uses a simple algorithm to identify individuals at risk of developing fracture of the hip, spine or wrist.

Developed using data from the QResearch database www.qresearch.org, a joint not-for-profit project run by the University of Nottingham and leading healthcare IT provider EMIS, the Oxford validation shows that QFracture has the potential to significantly reduce the current £2bn bill for treating osteoporotic fractures in the UK.

The independent assessment saw Oxford researchers test the tool against 2.2 million patients drawn from the THIN database.

As well validating its performance data, the researchers commented: “As variables in the QFracture will be known to the patient, or collected as part of routine clinical practice and recorded within the patients’ healthcare record, QFracture can be applied in primary care to identify patients at high risk that would benefit from further investigation, without the need for expensive tests.”

The findings come at an important time for QFracture which has also just been included in the draft scope of new NICE guidelines on the prevention of osteoporotic fracture. The guidelines will set national standards on how best to assess individuals patients risk of fracture.

Julia Hippisley-Cox professor of clinical epidemiology and general practice at Nottingham University and a co-director of QResearch said: “We are delighted to have this independent validation of QFracture as the ‘gold standard’ for assessing patients’ risk. “Doctors can now use this new tool to help identify those at highest risk of having a fracture for whom interventions might be beneficial as well as communicate to patients what their likely risk is.”

The QFracture algorithm, which features in the development plan for EMIS Web, is available online for patients to use by answering a series of simple questions on their medical health (www.qfracture.org). Alternatively software which implements QFracture is available for use with NHS clinical computer systems via ClinRisk Ltd.