Pediatricians specialize in treating children of all ages and are a vital part of the American healthcare system. From pregnancy to young adulthood, your pediatrician will provide essential information and guidance to ensure your child develops as expected, leading an active and enjoyable life. That is why choosing a pediatrician is probably one of the most important decisions you will have to make regarding your child’s well-being.
If your family remains in the same home for some time, then you are likely to stay with the same clinic for a large number of years. However, sometimes you may need to change things up because you are moving to a new city or your current pediatrician retires. Or maybe you are just not happy with your current provider. Whatever the reason, you should take the time to collect as much information as you can before making your final decision.
Where to start
Your search for clinics in your area can start through any search engine, but you can find a lot of useful information on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ healthychidren.org website. There is a handy tool, which enables you to see highly qualified pediatricians in your area.
Once you have found some in your area, you can check out their credentials and find out if they are board certified.
During your search of the website, you can look at the profiles of the doctors. You will see details about their education, employment history and whether they have board accreditation.
Board Certified Pediatricians
This is an important consideration because it means that your child will be receiving the best treatment using the most up-to-date techniques. Board-certified pediatricians commit to continuous learning and improvement of care, which can only be a benefit to you and your child.
The Fine Points
Having a great doctor is excellent, but ultimately pointless if they are never available or don’t fit into your schedule. Therefore, when you make your initial inquiries, you should be armed with a list of questions to ask either the doctor or receptionist.
This should include things such as opening hours, emergency care provision, insurance coverage, and whether their value systems are in alignment with yours. There is no such thing as a silly question, and if the team at a clinic makes you feel like there is, then they are not the right one for you.
Arrange a Face-to-Face with the Pediatrician
This is the final thing to arrange before making your decision. Most clinics offer an opportunity for new patients to visit the clinic before registering, and it gives you an excellent chance to see what things are like.
During your visit, you will be able to address any questions you may have and also get to see if you click with the team. If you feel uncomfortable when you are in the clinic, then scratch them off the list. While you’re in the clinic, see how the staff interacts with the kids and patients. If you have your child with you, monitor how your child feels with the doctor.
Once you have completed the rounds, you will have a good idea of the best choice for you and your child.
If you need to change, do it as soon as possible
Sometimes we make the wrong decision, but the good news is that you are not in a binding agreement to stay with one clinic for life. If you have a newborn, see how you feel after the first few visits, and if you are unhappy with the service and the way the staff is with your baby, then don’t suffer in silence.
The sooner you change, the better, as it will mean there are no gaps in care and interruptions in the immunization schedule. It will also mean that when your child is a little bit older, they will be more familiar with the doctor and the team. The disruption of a change of doctor and clinic can be quite upsetting for children, so don’t leave it too long if you are unhappy.