Objective: Adult and pediatric endocrinologists share responsibility for the transition of youth with type 1 diabetes from pediatric to adult healthcare. This study aimed to increase successful transfers to adult care in subspecialty practices by establishing a systematic health care transition (HCT) process.
Methods: Providers from the adult and pediatric endocrinology divisions at the University of Rochester Medical Center met monthly to customize and integrate the Six Core Elements (6CEs) of HCT into clinical workflows. Young adult patients with type 1 diabetes having an outpatient visit during a 34-month pre-post intervention period were eligible (N = 371). Retrospective chart review was performed on patients receiving referrals to adult endocrinology (n = 75) to obtain (1) the proportion of patients explicitly tracked during transfer from the pediatric to adult endocrinology practice, (2) the providers' documentation of the use of the 6CEs, and (3) the patients' diabetes control and healthcare utilization during the transition period.
Results: The percent of eligible patients with type 1 diabetes who were explicitly tracked in their transfer more than doubled compared to baseline (11% vs. 27% of eligible patients; P<.01). Pediatric providers started to use transition readiness assessments and create medical summaries, and adult providers increased closed-loop communication with pediatric providers after a patient's first adult visit. Glycemic control and healthcare utilization remained stable.
Conclusion: Successful implementation of the 6CEs into pediatric and adult subspecialty practices can result in improvements of planned transfers of pediatric patients with type 1 diabetes to adult subspecialty providers.
Abbreviations: 6CEs = six core elements; AYA = adolescent and young adult; DKA = diabetic ketoacidosis; ED = emergency department; HbA1c = hemoglobin A1c; HCT = health care transition.