Choosing a Pediatrician
Schedule a meeting before committing to a new pediatrician to make sure you feel comfortable with the provider. (Photo courtesy of Donetta Gee-Weiler)
Angie’s List offers some tips for choosing a pediatrician or family doctor:
1. Research your doctor.
The days of picking a name out of a phone book are gone. There is a variety of resources available for parents to make informed decisions before choosing a new pediatrician for their child. Also, check with your state’s medical licensing agency to make sure the doctor is in good standing.
2. Schedule an interview (free of charge) to ask questions and learn more about your child’s potential doctor.
Someone working with children should be compassionate and willing to listen to parents. Ask about the doctor’s approach in offering treatment options. Ask if the doctor you are interviewing will be the one who sees your child. How does the doctor stay up to date on the latest medical innovations?
You might have other questions regarding office hours, staffing, a sick-versus-well child waiting area and how after-hours emergencies are handled. Often, how the doctor responds to your questions is just as important as what he or she says.
3. Why age and gender might matter
The doctor’s gender might not matter to you, but it might matter to your child. As child grows older, he or she may prefer a doctor of the same sex. Also, you might want to consider the age of the doctor in making your decision. Experience is one of the big benefits of having an older physician, but that doctor could also be less apt to consider new treatment options or may retire before your child is grown. Decide which variables are most important to you and your family.
4. Follow up
After a couple of visits, you should have a good feel for how the pediatrician relates to you and your child. Does the doctor answer your questions in a way that makes you feel comfortable? Are you happy with her or his bedside manner? Is the doctor proactive in her or his approach, or is he or she reactive to your child’s condition?