Perspectives

Transitions of Care for Healthy Young Adults: Promoting Primary Care and Preventive Health

Authors: Laurie Graves, MD, Shannon Leung, MD, Prashant Raghavendran, DO, Sarah Mennito, MD, MSCR

Abstract

The transition of care between pediatric and adult medicine is a challenging time for patients and physicians. This longitudinal process encompasses much more than the physical transfer of a patient between providers. Established transition of care processes and literature exist for many chronic disease populations, but little focus has been directed toward the transition of care and the delivery of preventive medicine for healthy young adult patients. The 18- to 30-year-old age group is a heterogenous population that often engages in high-risk behaviors and has high rates of preventable morbidity and mortality. A significant number of these patients do not receive routine primary care and are high users of costly emergency services. Without a continuous source of care, many young adults do not receive age-appropriate screening or preventive health guidance. Structured transition practices improve outcomes in the chronic disease population, and anticipatory guidance has a positive effect on patient lifestyle modification. Adult providers should use these practices to ensure the successful integration of healthy young adult patients into an adult medical home. By establishing an ongoing source of preventive care, providers could reduce morbidity and mortality in this vulnerable population.

 

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