This one’s for the traveler with kids!
Whether a parent-to-be, recently relocated or simply looking for someone new, the search for the right pediatrician can be overwhelming. There will likely be referrals from friends, family, the OBGYN, and your insurance company. And they will all sound great, yet each will leave you panicked, wondering if that person is the right fit. But if you are formulaic in your search, you can compare them to one another, and find someone who is a good fit for you. So as you look, here are 4 things to look for in your new pediatrician.
- Insurance – Does this doctor accept your insurance? If not, there is no need to even meet; unless you are comfortable paying for each visit out of pocket.
- Hours – Is the doctor available when you are? If you and your spouse work 9-5, can you get appointments before work? After work? On weekends? Is there a day when the doctor is available not by appointment? If your child is sick, can you schedule an appointment the same day? Are there other doctors available at the practice if yours is unavailable? Understanding the scheduling practices of the pediatrician is extremely important because it doesn’t matter how good the doctor is if never available.
- Qualifications – What you are looking for may vary from others, but it is important to know what qualifications matter to you. Is the doctor a family physician or only pediatrics? Does the doctor have any specializations? Is the doctor board certified in pediatrics? Anything else? How long has the doctor been in practice? How long at this practice? The more you understand about what your doctor has done and where your doctor is looking to go, the more you will understand if this doctor has what you want.
- Philosophy – When it comes to raising children, no two parents are the same. Some nurse, others formula feed. Some vaccinate, others are nervous about it. You need to make a list of your top concerns and make sure the pediatrician is on the same page as you. The most qualified, best recommended, and most sought-after doctor in your town may not be right for you if you have conflicting ideas about your child’s care – which is fine. Some doctors will prescribe antibiotics regularly, others will reserve it for severe cases. Some will want you to come in every time your child coughs, others will say only come in certain instances. The first three points (insurance, hours, and qualifications), simply determine if a doctor is worth meeting. Understanding a doctor’s philosophy on healthcare will help you find the right doctor for your family.
And remember, the right doctor for your family may not be the right doctor for your neighbor – and that is fine. Everyone has different needs in a doctor, but these tips should at least get the conversation going in the right direction.