Some more responses to the question, “How do I choose a pediatrician for my children,” from Pediatric Alliance physicians:
“When beginning the journey to select a pediatrician, there are two important questions to ask. The first is, “How knowledgeable is this physician?” With a quick internet search or a glance at the practice’s website, one can find the medical school he/she attended and if the candidate is board certified, with the latter being more important. In addition to prior training, the pediatrician’s awareness of his or her limitations is a key factor. Unfortunately, no one knows everything, but willingness to seek help is vital. The second question is, “How comfortable am I with this doctor?” Entrusting the care of one’s child to someone else is a difficult task and takes a lot of trust and faith. This task is made easier when a caregiver feels at ease. Knowing that someone will acknowledge all of your concerns and communicate in a timely fashion will aid in building this trust. So call the pediatrician’s office and set up a time for a prenatal visit to meet and talk to the doctor. We are all happy to meet you.”
— Dr. Mike Petrosky, Wexford
“Here are some things for parents to keep in mind and some questions to ask as they search for a pediatrician:
— Ask friends, coworkers, neighbors: Which pediatric practice do they use and why? What do they like? What do they dislike? DO NOT USE GOOGLE SEARCH OR RELY ON WHOMEVER HAS THE LARGEST BILLBOARD….
— Schedule a prenatal visit with one of the doctors in the office you are considering. This is like an interview. You are ideally looking to establish a relationship that may last 18 or more years so it is essential that you are comfortable with the practice.
— During that prenatal visit, ask as many questions as you can. Find out what the practice’s policy is for immunizations, and how they handle families that choose to alter the immunization schedule or not immunize their child. (THIS IS IMPERATIVE TO DO BEFORE YOU SHOW UP WITH YOUR NEW INFANT). If you have concerns about immunizations, have a thoughtful discussion long before those shots are scheduled to begin.
— How many providers are there in the practice? Do they work full time or part time? Are there any nurse practitioners and/or physician’s assistants I can see? Will I be assigned a provider or will I be able to choose which provider I’d like to see? Are all providers Board Certified? Do any of them have special interests or subspecialites? If you are meeting with a doctor, ask them why they chose to be a pediatrician? What do they enjoy about their job?
— Which hospitals are they affiliated with and will they personally be visiting my child there or will they be seen by a “hospitalist” or “rotator” service? If so, how will your office be notified of admissions, discharges, and plans for follow-up?
— Location. This may be really important since infants are often seen many times in the first few months of life.
— Is the office open in the evenings and weekends? Who takes the after-hour calls — physicians or nurses — when the office is closed?
— Does the office offer any ancillary services like phlebotomy, x-ray, asthma care, laceration care, concussion management, mental health services, lactation services on site? If not, where is the closest location that the practice typically refers to for these services?
— Which insurance plans do you accept?
— Does the practice have electronic health records (EHR)? Do they have a separate sick/well waiting room? Is the office clean? Are they made to feel welcome when they arrive? Are there differences in how much time is typically given for sick or well visits? Does the practice overbook?”
— Dr. Kim Pezzone, St. Clair
“Find someone who you feel comfortable with! It sounds so basic but it’s important to be able to have a normal conversation with your pediatrician. Parents shouldn’t feel nervous or anxious in talking to their pediatrician — they should be comfortable asking all kinds of questions and should not feel like they are being judged.
Other more practical things that I’ve found over time:
— It may help to choose a pediatrician who has children who are roughly the same ages as your own. Your kids and the doctor’s kids will be going through the same phases — from developmental issues to tantrums to food aversions to teen issues. It can be helpful to have the doctor draw on current personal experiences to help.
— Choose an office with lots of parking!
— Make sure the office has hours that are convenient for you (evening, weekend).
— Make sure the office takes your insurance.
— Ask your friends who they use as a pediatrician.”
— Dr. Brian Davies, Chartiers/McMurray
Did we miss anything? Tell us what you think is important when choosing a pediatrician.
Do you know someone who is going to have a baby? Send them the links to these last four blog posts. And tell them to give us a call!