Yesterday we began answering a common question young parents ask: “How do I choose a pediatrician for my children?” Here are some more answers from Pediatric Alliance doctors:
“I would tell a new parent that it’s very important that they feel comfortable asking their pediatricians questions, and that they feel like their doctor is listening to them. As important as medical knowledge is, if your personalities don’t sync, you aren’t going to feel comfortable letting them make medical decisions for your child. You may have to meet a few pediatricians before you find the one that is right for you, but it’s worth continuing to look if you are not satisfied.”
— Dr. Merrie Cousins, Wexford
“Pick an office that is convenient for your family. It needs to be close by and needs to have hours that work for you. You will be at the doctor’s office at many times for well checkups as well as sick visits. The office needs to meet your family’s needs.”
— Dr. Wendy Bacdayan, Chartiers/McMurray
“Pick a person who talks at your level and explains what is happening both for the problem at hand and in anticipation of problems to come. The practitioner should be willing to answer questions and make the patient and family feel like a partner in the health care process.”
— Dr. Debbie Rotenstein, Endocrinology Division
“We encourage new parents to visit us for a prenatal appointment before the baby is born. It is important for parents to feel comfortable with the physician, office and staff. Do they feel the staff is amicable and compassionate, or rushed? Of course families should ask about office hours to make sure the schedule fits their needs. Are there any evening or Saturday hours? I also encourage families to meet the nurse who answers the telephone questions, as this is a huge part of a pediatric practice. How quick is the turn-around time for phone calls? Do you work patients into the schedule same-day for illnesses? How are after-hours questions handled? How many providers are in the group and how do they cover for each other?
In my mind, it is more about the parents’ sense of ease and comfort in the office, and the feeling of partnership with the provider, than any specifics about office procedures. After the visit, parents should feel that they were listened to and respected. They should feel comfortable asking any question and seeking advice from the pediatrician they choose.”
— Dr. Joy Drass, Bloomfield
“They say it takes a village to raise a child. I think families need to realize that when picking a pediatrician they are not merely engaging one individual but joining a whole village — almost like joining the board of directors of a small corporation. Their experiences will be colored by the individual who greets them at the front window (who sets the tone for an office visit) right down to the IT specialist in the corporate office who keeps the medical information electronically flowing — and the multitude of layers in between. The pediatrician is only the “faceman” or “facewoman.”
I think the only really “true blue” sources are family members and friends who have already bought into the corporation and have experienced its “profits.” And by all means be sure the children’s grandparents approve of the selection. Otherwise, you may never hear the end of it!
We live in an era where there is a pediatric practice on virtually every street corner, and medical care can be delivered by robots. I think the best course of action is to consolidate the input of the “true blue” sources, trust your intuition (especially that of the mother), join the corporation, and worry about the rest later.”
— Dr. Tony Kovatch, Arcadia
We’ll have more suggestions for choosing a pediatrician in Part 3, tomorrow, on The PediaBlog.