Adolescent, adult health care, chronic medical condition, health literacy, mobile applications, pediatric to adult health care, public health, smartphone, technology, transition to adult health care



  1. Miller, Cashmere DNP, APRN, FNP-C


Background: There are unique challenges presented during the transition from pediatric to adult health care for adolescents with chronic medical conditions, and many do not transition smoothly. Although there is little research on how mobile applications can influence the transition process specifically, research shows technology, in general, can be advantageous to the transition process for adolescents. Ample literature exists on how adolescents are avid users of technology.


Local Problem: The Children's Medical Services program in a large urban county in the southern United States lacked an efficient system for transitioning the care of children with special needs to the adult health care setting.


Methods: Qualitative semistructured interviews and pre-post tests were conducted with 23 adolescent participants with chronic medical conditions. Multiple choice questions elicited information from four categories: knowledge of medical condition, organization/health care system navigation, identified adult health care provider, and awareness of available resources.


Interventions: A novel website and smartphone application designed to aid adolescents and young adults during transition were developed.


Results: Gain scores from pre-post tests showed an increase in all 4 sections of the survey: knowledge of medical condition-21% increase, organization/health care system navigation-15.3% increase, identified health care provider-32% increase, and awareness of available resources-19.3% increase. All 23 adolescent participants reported that the application would be useful for managing their health information.


Conclusions: Smartphone applications can be helpful for adolescents in their transition into adult health care. Such applications also have potential to increase confidence and independence in managing health care needs.