The Transition from Pediatrics to Adult Primary Care: 5 Tips to Help Make the Change

For many chil­dren and teens, their pedi­a­tri­cian is a trust­ed source of infor­ma­tion for men­tal, phys­i­cal, and emo­tion­al health. This rela­tion­ship can last months, years, or even decades. 

While a pedi­a­tri­cian is trained in the health needs of chil­dren, the time will even­tu­al­ly come to see an adult pri­ma­ry care provider (PCP) — or some­one you go to for com­mon med­ical con­cerns in adults. You might see your PCP for a com­mon cold, to learn about mak­ing healthy choic­es, or for a spe­cif­ic con­di­tion, like dia­betes.

Adult pri­ma­ry care providers include inter­nal med­i­cine and fam­i­ly med­i­cine physi­cians.

The tran­si­tion from your pedi­a­tri­cian to an adult pri­ma­ry care provider can come with a wide range of emo­tions, from anx­i­ety to excite­ment to con­fu­sion. It may feel over­whelm­ing, as this per­son will like­ly be in charge of your care for a long time.

Here are 5 tips to help you choose a new pri­ma­ry care provider. 

1. Ask for rec­om­men­da­tions.

If you’re look­ing for a new restau­rant to try, you’ll prob­a­bly ask oth­ers for rec­om­men­da­tions. And while your health is more impor­tant than what you eat for din­ner, rec­om­men­da­tions are still a great way to find a new provider. 

One source to start with is your pedi­a­tri­cian, who like­ly under­stands what kind of provider you would con­nect well with. 

You may also want to ask close friends or fam­i­ly mem­bers for rec­om­men­da­tions. For instance, if you have a cousin who shares many of the same val­ues as you when it comes to health­care, ask them if they have a pri­ma­ry care provider they love. 

2. Con­sid­er your unique health needs. 

If you have any spe­cif­ic health con­di­tions or needs, you may want to choose a health­care provider who has more expe­ri­ence with them. These include: 

  • Health con­di­tions, such as dia­betes or asthma
  • Emo­tion­al needs, such as anx­i­ety or depression
  • Lifestyle choic­es, such as if you’re an ath­lete or are a vegetarian

You may be able to find this infor­ma­tion on your provider’s web­site or by call­ing the office and speak­ing to the front desk employ­ees. You can also ask ques­tions about a provider’s spe­cial­ties dur­ing your first vis­it with a new provider. 

If you’re female, you might also want to begin see­ing an obstetrician/​gynecologist (OBG­YN) if you haven’t already. They spe­cial­ize in the health of women, which is espe­cial­ly impor­tant as you get old­er. They also treat women dur­ing their child­bear­ing years, includ­ing dur­ing preg­nan­cy and child­birth. While most inter­nal and fam­i­ly med­i­cine providers can per­form basic women’s health includ­ing Pap smears, it’s com­mon for women to have both an OB/GYN and a pri­ma­ry care provider. 

3. Ver­i­fy your insur­ance coverage. 

Once you’re con­sid­er­ing a health­care provider, make sure they are in your health plan’s net­work (also called in-net­work). Some insur­ance com­pa­nies allow you to see a provider that’s not in-net­work, but it might be more expensive. 

To see if a provider is in-net­work, call both the provider’s office and your health insur­ance. Make sure you have your insur­ance card with you if they need details about your plan. 

4. Make an appoint­ment with a provider. 

If a health­care provider seems to check all the right box­es for you, you may want to do some research on them, like look­ing at their cre­den­tials, bio, and online reviews. 

Then it’s time to make an appoint­ment to meet them in person.

Before your appoint­ment, be sure to send your med­ical records to your new provider. You can do this by call­ing your pediatrician’s office and pro­vid­ing them with your new provider’s infor­ma­tion. If you’re trans­fer­ring to a provider in the same health­care sys­tem, this may be done automatically. 

Once at your appoint­ment, you can ask your provider ques­tions. For instance, you might want to ask about their exper­tise in areas that are impor­tant to you. 

You’ll also want to con­sid­er fac­tors, such as: 

  • How com­fort­able they make you feel
  • Whether or not they explain things to you in a way you understand 
  • How sin­cere­ly they lis­ten to your concerns
  • The amount of time they spend with you
  • If they give you time to ask ques­tions and answer them thoroughly

Duly Health and Care providers are com­mit­ted to mak­ing the tran­si­tion from pedi­atrics to adult pri­ma­ry care seam­less. Make an appoint­ment to meet with a Duly provider today.

5. Don’t hes­i­tate to switch providers. 

The rela­tion­ship between you and your pri­ma­ry care provider is a cru­cial one. If you don’t feel com­fort­able with a provider, you may not be as open and hon­est dur­ing your appoint­ments — mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for them to give you the best care possible.

If at any point you feel like you aren’t con­nect­ing with your provider, you always have the option to switch to anoth­er one. While you may need to go through the process of search­ing for a provider again, it will be well worth the effort to find one you trust. 

Choos­ing a health­care provider is a major deci­sion, and it shouldn’t be tak­en light­ly. By tak­ing the time to choose an adult pri­ma­ry care provider who you can depend on, you’ll be ben­e­fit­ing your health now and in the future.

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