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October 2018: Coordinating Adolescent- and Family-Centered Health Services

Unlike young children, who most often receive all their healthcare from a pediatrician, adolescents may need physical and mental health services from an array of doctors or providers in different settings. In addition, some adolescents have special healthcare needs. Coordinating care across providers can be challenging but is critical to ensure adolescents receive all the assistance they need where and when they need it.

The national call to action, Adolescent Health: Think, Act, Grow® (TAG), launched by the HHS Office of Adolescent Health (OAH), encourages stakeholders to improve how care is coordinated for adolescents and to provide care that is centered on their needs. TAG identifies integrated and coordinated adolescent services as one of the Five Essentials for Healthy Adolescents. In fact, TAG promotes adolescent health and healthy development in a variety of settings, including home, school, healthcare, faith-based, work, and out of school community-based programs.

How to Coordinate Care

To provide better coordinated healthcare for adolescents, professionals should consider implementing one or more of these key approaches:

  1. Provide a medical home for adolescents whereby each adolescent has an ongoing relationship with a personal physician who coordinates with other healthcare providers to ensure that all the patient’s healthcare needs are met.
  2. Support partnerships between healthcare providers and education systems, such as coordinated school-based healthcare. This helps adolescents access healthcare in school, where they spend a great deal of time.
  3. Leverage health information technology for care coordination, such as electronic tools, to facilitate information sharing among adolescents, families, and healthcare teams. Information about adolescents and their needs and services can be available across settings.
  4. Ensure plans of care are created with adolescent and family input, and are sensitive to their language, values, and culture. Adolescents are more likely to follow plans that they have helped develop.
  5. Foster knowledge about community resources and link families/patients to those resources commensurate with the needs of the patient, family, and population.

Research Highlights: Coordinated Adolescent- and Family-Centered Services

OAH reviewed research studies on challenges adolescents face in accessing different types of healthcare services. For more information, see the OAH research review on coordinated adolescent- and family-centered services.

Did You Know?

Having a primary care facility introduces adolescents to the concept of having a medical home, or a regular source of care that is accessible, continuous, comprehensive, coordinated, family-centered, and culturally effective.

Spread the Word with These Posts


  • Help improve your teen's health by making sure they have a primary care doctor. This results in fewer visits to specialists and fewer emergency room visits. Learn more about teen health essentials from Adolescent Health: Think, Act, Grow®. http://1.usa.gov/1SDiI8w


  • A #TeenHealth essential: coordinate adolescent- and family-centered services and programs to improve health http://1.usa.gov/1SDiI8w #TAG42mil
  • Integrated adolescent-centered care can help adolescents achieve better health outcomes and overall development. Learn more about how to coordinate care for adolescents: https://bit.ly/2fEC8UC #TAG42Mil
Content created by Office of Adolescent Health
Content last reviewed on December 14, 2018