Choosing the right pediatrician for your children is a tricky job, as there is so much information out there, and you might not have the time to put in the necessary groundwork. However, we highly recommend that you take the time to research the available options before making your choice, as this will save problems further down the line.
Once you have drawn up a shortlist of potential doctors, you should arrange to visit the clinic to see how things look for yourself. While you are there, you’ll have the opportunity to talk with the physicians and support staff and have a good look around. Before you visit, you should prepare a list of questions for the team so that you can address any concerns and get a real feel for how the practice staff works with kids. To get you started, we have prepared a few questions to ask when choosing a pediatrician.
Do you accept my insurance?
Realistically, you should have done this during your initial search and call to the clinic, but it never does any harm to double check. Different clinics accept different insurance plans, so it is vitally important to check this, so there are no surprises later.
What is your availability?
You will have already checked the opening hours of the clinic, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the doctor will be available when you need them. Therefore, it is important to ask them about their appointment times, how busy they currently are, and what systems are in place for when they are not available.
In this example, group practices will most likely offer the most flexibility, but it is a good idea to check.
What happens if there is an emergency?
Knowing that someone is there when you’re worried about your baby provides peace of mind and a vital source of information. Many clinics offer specific out-of-hours care and advice, so it is essential to see how this works in the clinic you visit. Also, don’t forget to ask about the availability of same-day appointments if you feel your little one needs an urgent checkup.
What services do you offer?
This is an important area to cover, as the range of services will vary significantly from one clinic to another. For example, a group pediatric clinic will offer many different services under one roof, as the doctors and staff will have different specialties, whereas a private practice may have to work in partnership with a local hospital to offer services such as immunizations and scans.
These factors can influence your decision, as you may not have the time to go other places or have the necessary insurance plan for the partner hospitals. Make sure that you are clear about these details before choosing a doctor.
Do I want my kid to come here?
Your decision will not be based on the answers of the doctor alone, as you will need to make judgments of the staff and the overall vibe of the clinic. Ask yourself several questions about the building, doctors, staff, and logistics. For example:
- Location – safe, convenient
- Doctor – friendly, approachable, noticeable love of kids
- Staff – patient, helpful, kid lovers
- Building/Office – clean, child-friendly, well-maintained
After you have gone through all these questions, you should be in a position to make the right choice for your little one.