Enhanced Communication Necessary During Transition From Pediatric to Adult Diabetes Care

Doctor talking to young woman
Doctor talking to young woman
Only one-third of adult endocrinologists reported always or often reviewing pediatric records.

Results from an online survey completed by endocrinologists treating young adults with diabetes suggests that better communication and information transfer should be implemented with pediatric care providers for these patients, according to recent data published in Diabetes Care.

“[O]ur results provide important information about the experiences of adult endocrinologists caring for young adults with type 1 diabetes in the U.S.,” Katharine C. Garvey, MD, MPH, from the division of endocrinology at Boston Children’s Hospital, and colleagues wrote in their study.

Dr Garvey and colleagues issued a survey to 4214 endocrinologists through email, gauging their “experiences, resources, and barriers” with transitioning young adults from pediatric diabetes care to adult care. Of these endocrinologists, 536 returned surveys and 418 met inclusion criteria.

Responses were varied in that endocrinologists from 47 different states completed the survey: 57% of respondents were men, 79% were Caucasian, 64% had been in practice for longer than 10 years, and 42% practiced medicine at an academic center, according to the abstract.

Results revealed that only 36% of adult endocrinologists reported always or often reviewing pediatric records and only 11% reported receiving summaries for young adults with type 1 diabetes, although more than 70% felt that it was important to do so.

Additionally, 94% of endocrinologists who completed the survey noted that there was easy access to diabetes educators, and 95% of respondents said there was easy access to dietitians.

However, fewer endocrinologists (42%) said there was easy access to mental health professionals, which they felt impacted their ability to provide diabetes management for those patients with conditions such as substance abuse (odds ratio[OR]= 3.5; 95% CI, 2.2- 5.6), eating disorders (OR=2.5; 95% CI, 1.6-3.8), and depression (OR=5.3; 95% CI, 3.4 -8.2).

“Our findings support the high importance of enhanced information transfer and direct communication between pediatric and adult diabetes providers, along with efforts to increase mental health provider training and access and to implement educational opportunities for adult endocrinologists on behavioral health topics specific to young adults with type 1 diabetes,” concluded the researchers.


  1. Garvey KC, Telo GH, Needleman JS, Forbes P, Finkelstein JA, Laffel LM. Health Care Transition in Young Adults With Type 1 Diabetes: Perspectives of Adult Endocrinologists in the United States. Diabetes Care. 2015;doi:10.2337/dc15-1775.