BACKGROUND: Osteoporosis is underdiagnosed, and rural communities often have limited technical resources for the assessment of osteoporosis. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the impact of a pharmacist, trained in the use of a portable heel ultrasound device, in screening elderly rural women for risk of osteoporosis and determine whether those found to be at risk seek further help and treatment from their general practitioner (GP) following screening. METHODS: Following promotion of the service, 345 women were recruited from 6 rural community pharmacies in Tasmania, Australia, and underwent quantitative heel ultrasound screening. Women were comprehensively educated on risk factors for osteoporosis and completed a calcium intake questionnaire. Results were forwarded to each woman's GP, and the participants were followed up 3 months later to assess outcomes from the screening procedure. RESULTS: Approximately 20% of women were shown to be at high risk for osteoporosis; 201 (58%) of these were referred to their GP for further assessment. Sixty-eight percent of women who were screened discussed their results with their GP, and 11% underwent further investigation. Over one-third of women screened began medication (30% calcium, 6% bisphosphonate, 6% vitamin D) for osteoporosis. CONCLUSIONS: Pharmacist-provided screening for osteoporosis in rural areas is a potentially useful method to identify women at risk for fracture and a convenient time point for discussion of preventive therapy.