Osteoporosis is a very common bone condition characterized by a decrease in bone density. Patients with this condition have very porous bone structures, leading to fractures, pain, and structural deformity of the spine.
The Osteoporosis Program at UHN offers diagnoses and treatments to those with this progressive metabolic bone disease. However, there cannot be any diagnoses or treatments without knowledge. Research is necessary to identify the condition, the state of development, and the appropriate treatment. UHN leads the research to diagnose the condition as early as possible, track the progress accurately, and optimize the treatment procedures.
The Osteoporosis Program at UHN initially started with paper forms to collect the data. After a while, the division did not have enough space to store the information and turned to Excel spreadsheets. While it was a simple system to store information, it was not very effective for research purposes. It was very difficult to find specific subjects, organize the information, extract data, and generate statistics; all aspects very crucial to research. In addition, as a multi-centre study, the information collected from one centre needed to be accessible from all other sites. The only method was to use the UHN shared drives, which quickly filled with data, as external databases could not be used due to security reasons. The program needed a user-friendly database that was organized, secure, and could run over multiple collection centres.