How to find the right pediatrician
We’ve had the same pediatrician for 11 years, and if not for moving 700 miles down the road, I would have kept seeing him for another decade. After four children and numerous medical calamities -- some big, most smal l-- we had a comfortable rapport that I think is vital when it comes to dealing with any doctor.
But relocating has forced me to find a new pediatrician and I realize not only have times changed since I last went through this process, but I have as well.
In addition to some great search tips found on Babyresource.com here are a few more from my recent experience.
Referrals. You’ve got to ask a friend, neighbor, teacher, co-worker for the place to start. Anyone can pick a name out of an insurance directory or phone book, but you want to hear real experience from a real human. (I asked a mom at their new school who I hit it off with right away.)
Availability. Speaking of insurance directories and phone books, once you’ve got a name, cross-check it with those sources to to make sure they accept your plan and if they are in a convenient location. It won’t do much good to go on further if it’s neither close nor accepted.
Reassess your needs. When I was a new mom, I needed a lot more hand-holding than I do now. Determine what kind of doctor you need right now and judge from there.
Office staff. Unfortunately, a doctor’s office is as good as the staff answering the phones and scheduling appointments. If I’m put on hold endlessly or have trouble getting my records transferred over, it’s not going to be a good relationship.
Trial run. When looking for that first new pediatrician, we’re advised to interview and meet potential new doctors while still pregnant. When changing physicians after our children are born we don’t have the luxury of time so it’s usually trial by fire when dealing with that first ear infection or Strep throat. Before committing to a new pediatrician for the long-run, judge on both sick visits and well check-ups. While I was pleased with this appointment, I look forward to spending more time asking questions at the next physical.
Not all offices are created equal. There are benefits and consequences to large practices and you have to determine which works best for your family. I thought I was in heaven when my previous doctor’s office began sending prescriptions electronically to my pharmacy. The new office has a pharmacy on site, and were able to take our Amoxicillin with us as we left the office.
Comfort. With all of the research you do on a new doctor, the most important piece of information is if you and your child are comfortable. Ask your child. If either of you are not completely at ease for whatever reason, keep searching until you find the right fit.
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