Significant gaps in healthcare are common for everyone between the ages of 17 and 21. But for young adults with juvenile idiopathic arthritis, lupus or other rheumatic conditions, this gap occurs during a time that also brings new challenges and adjustments that may lead to the loss of consistent follow-up. This lack of consistency can negatively affect patient health, according to Patience White, MD, MA, FACP, FAAP, a pediatric and adult rheumatologist and co-director of GotTransition: Center for Healthcare Transition Improvement.
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Over the past several years, Dr. White has been part of a dedicated national focus to establish more structure around the transition from pediatric to adult healthcare. This work has resulted in the development of an evidence-informed healthcare transition tool kit called the Six Core Elements of Health Care Transition. The approach is modeled after the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Physicians joint Clinical Report on Health Care Transition.1 With the American College of Physicians Council of Subspecialty Societies, the ACR has adapted these elements for rheumatology practices into a tool kit.2
“The early work on healthcare transition was focused on what pediatric rheumatologists could do to prepare young patients for the transition, and more recently the importance of the adult rheumatologist’s role in helping young adults after they are under their care is being recognized,” Dr. White explains.3