The evaluation and costs of transition programs for youth with epilepsy.
Epilepsy & Behavior : E&B
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There is limited information about the effectiveness of transition programs for youth moving from pediatric to adult care with any chronic disease. Two Delphi studies and National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines about transition for epilepsy have suggested few critical outcome measures for transition. A single large prospective study found that the most important transition program elements were appropriate parent involvement, promotion of health self-efficacy, and meeting the adult team before transfer. Two Cochrane reviews of the value of transition for epilepsy found insufficient evidence to establish or refute the value of various programs, although evaluation of a few programs suggested a great deal of family/patient satisfaction. The cost of transition programs and their cost effectiveness have also not been established except for renal transplantation where transition programs were associated with fewer losses of the transplanted kidneys, a cost-effective outcome. Published data on the overall cost of care for children and adults with epilepsy may be helpful to establish a business plan for a transition program, and are briefly reviewed. Establishing cost effectiveness of transition programs for epilepsy would promote their establishment and viability. However, a number of studies will be needed based on the nature of the program, the healthcare system where it is carried out, and the type of epilepsy. In fee-for-service health systems, the reevaluation of patients with epilepsy prior to transfer may be sufficient to cover the costs of the transition program, whereas in single payer systems, there may be positive downstream health or societal benefits that justify the costs. A theoretical framework for comprehensive evaluation of epilepsy transition programs is needed. The Triple Aim Framework seems applicable with focus on population health, patient experiences, and cost and has the potential to assess transition interventions in the context of system-wide improvements in healthcare. Transition programs in general have not been well evaluated, and very little evaluation data exist regarding transition programs for epilepsy. We recommend more evaluative research using rigorous methodology to comprehensively assess these programs.