This year, 70,000 fractures will occur as a result of osteoporosis. It will cost municipalities and county councils over SEK 11 billion for these fall accidents. The risk of osteoporosis could be revealed much earlier than when the fracture is already a fact. With the help of modern technology, artificial intelligence and continuous scanning, there are great opportunities to reduce both major human suffering and significant societal costs. This is shown in a new report where the socio-economic effects of an early risk assessment of osteoporosis have been calculated.
Play with the idea that, like today’s recurrent breast screening and cell sampling, we would introduce regular free risk assessments of all people over 50 years of age. The cost of falling accidents would be significantly reduced.
It is possible to solve one of the great public diseases of our time by using existing patient contact at the dentist. Large sections of the population regularly visit their dentist for preventive purposes. This makes dental care the perfect way to find at-risk patients early. There is a correlation between osteoporosis in the jawbone and the rest of the body. Based on a regular dental x-ray taken during the routine visit, there are unlimited opportunities to prevent future osteoporosis fractures before they even occur. With the help of AI (Artificial Intelligence) it is possible to discover correlations, research around other related diseases, analyze trends and increase learning – to the great benefit of society.
It is not just our grandparents who worry about falling on icy sidewalks or stumbling on a carpeted edge with bone fractures as a direct result. Already at the age of 25 our bone mass decreases and the risk of fractures increases the older we get. Fall accidents are the type of accident that causes the greatest socio-economic costs. In total, 75,000 fall accidents are estimated to result in costs to society of at least SEK 22 billion. All fall accidents are not related to osteoporosis. But the relationship is strong enough that preventive measures will pay off.
So let’s calculate break-even:
A calculation shows that the cost of regular osteoporosis screening of all people from the age of 50 would amount to between SEK 200 and 500 million SEK, depending on the extent.
The socio-economic cost of each fall accident is currently SEK 200,000. If the risk assessment ‘only’ leads to 1,000 to 2,500 fewer fall accidents, the effort would be socio-economically viable.
The silent public disease osteoporosis, “porous bone”, is a disease that rarely causes any problems before suffering from a fracture. However, every other woman and every fourth man will suffer from osteoporosis during life. 75 percent will never be able to return to a normal functioning life.
It doesn’t have to be that way. It is possible to take back control of both one’s own health and social costs.
The report has been prepared by the Rådhusgruppen, on behalf of Boneprox. Support for the project was provided by Vinnova via Sahlgrenska Science Park. The report and references are in full on the following link: Samhällsekonomisk rapport benskörhet