Every pediatrician has the knowledge and skills in providing service and care for children. However, it doesn’t mean you can just go for whoever has the most convenient clinic location or the most affordable rates.
In this guide, you will be given a rundown of tips on how to pick the right pediatrician for your child.
1. Plan Ahead Of Time
It is best to find a pediatrician before your due date. This is to make sure that you only choose the right physician you think is the best for your forthcoming child. Given that your baby will need to see a pediatrician frequently after being born, choosing a pediatrician that best suits your budget is crucial. Moreover, planning ahead also allows you to do thorough research on the doctors’ background first, before deciding which one to go for.
2. Get Recommendations From Friends And Family Or Your Gynecologist
If you don’t have any idea where to look for a reputable pediatrician near you, then you should ask your family and friends for suggestions. You may have someone in your life, a friend, sister, or neighbor perhaps who is also a parent and can recommend you the best physician in town for your baby. Ask them about their experiences and if they are going to recommend their kids’ pediatrician or not. On the other hand, you may also ask your Ob-Gyn for a recommendation. The majority of Gynecologists are connected with different pediatricians who can take care of their patients’ children.
3. Consider The Doctor’s Office Location
Once you have narrowed down your choices to a couple of pediatricians, the next thing you’ll need to determine is the doctor’s office location. Since your baby will need to be checked numerous times in his/her first few weeks of life, you must choose a doctor whose office is convenient to go to. If your prospective pediatrician is not in close proximity to your home, driving or commuting to his or her office should not be a pain in the neck, at least.
4. Look Into The Practitioner’s Credentials And Experience
From the words of Gurinder Dabhia, M.D., a Scripps Clinic pediatrician, “Parents should be able to feel that they can trust their kids’ pediatrician“. For this reason, checking the doctor’s credentials, experience, and track record are extremely essential for every parent. The pediatrician must be able to present a board certification. This is to ensure that he or she has undergone the necessary skills, training, and experience to practice the profession. A well-reputable physician will have no issue about you asking for these things. The pediatrician must also not have any history of disciplinary actions or malpractice. Moreover, you can check on state websites or at healthgrades.com for the pediatrician’s educational background, training, certifications, etc.
5. Know Other Parents’ Opinion On The Pediatrician
Knowing what other parents have to say about the pediatrician will provide you hindsight of whether the doctor is going to be the right one for your child or not. Other parents’ reviews is a mere summary of the doctor’s clients’ experience. If the majority of other parents tell you that they are satisfied with the pediatrician, then it’s a good sign that this doctor might be the one you’re looking for.
6. Ask About The Doctor’s Availability
Given that your baby will need to see the pediatrician more frequently, you must be aware of the doctor’s clinic availability. Some doctors also require patients to enlist in a schedule ahead of time via call or text. Some doctors with clinics that are not as busy also allow walk-in patients. In the event of urgent matters, where the doctor will not be able to show up on a clinic day, his or her staff should be able to call parents to inform them about their schedule’s cancellation and rescheduling.
7. Does The Clinic Accept Your Insurance?
If you carry a health insurance plan, you surely would want to take advantage of it; thus, choose a pediatrician’s office that accepts it. However, if your prospective pediatrician doesn’t accept your insurance plan, you may ask about the expected expenses. On the other hand, you may also ask your insurance provider about the laboratory and other probable expenses.
8. Evaluate The Office’s Atmosphere
If you have the time to personally visit your prospective pediatricians’ offices, you will have a better judgment of their clinics’ ambiance. Are the nurses and staff polite and friendly? Are there separate waiting areas for patients who are sick and well? Is the office spacious enough for the volume of patients? Moreover, once your child becomes a toddler, clinic visits can become trickier. Kids can easily get bored and tired of waiting or get easily anxious when they see other children crying. A separate playroom in the clinic will be a big help, as it is a good form of distraction for children.
9. Consider The Doctor’s Gender
Although your child will not care about his or her pediatrician’s gender at an early age, this can become an essential factor later on. Remember that your child will see a pediatrician until their late teens. A breast or a pelvic exam for a teenage girl can be quite embarrassing if her physician is a man. However, if you found a really good pediatrician whose gender is opposite to your baby’s, then you can certainly go along with that choice at this stage.
10. Telehealth Capabilities And Availability
There are various situations where you will not be able to send your child to the doctor’s office for a checkup. For this reason, the clinic’s telehealth capability is extremely important. Telehealth or telemedicine refers to how doctors and health care professionals utilize technology to deliver services. According to Kids Health, patients can use telemedicine for minor illnesses including cough, cold, allergies, diarrhea, vomiting, headache, constipation, rashes, etc.
11. Is The Doctor Friendly?
When picking a pediatrician for your child, it is important to choose one whom you feel comfortable talking to. The doctor must not criticize nor discriminate your ways of parenting. Instead, he or she should be able to give you valuable pieces of advice in an informative and non-offensive way. The pediatrician must also welcome questions and answer them diligently. Choose a pediatrician who shows interest in knowing more about your child.
12. He Or She Should Be Able To See Your Baby 24 Hours After Delivery
Whether or not the pediatrician is affiliated with the hospital you’re giving birth in, he or she must be able to complete your child’s first checkup 24 hours after birth. This is to make sure your baby gets immediate treatment in case of complications or birth defects.
Searching for the right pediatrician can be exhausting especially if you are currently pregnant. However, doing this is part of the preparation for the coming of your little bundle of joy. Picking the best pediatrician gives you the assurance that you’ll have the support of a professional healthcare provider in taking care of your child.