Choosing a primary care pediatrician to care for your child may be one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a parent.
“A primary care pediatrician is your go-to partner in caring for all aspects of your child’s health,” says Ray Tsai, M.D., Senior Vice President of Dallas Market Operations at Children’s Health℠. “It’s important to find someone you can count on, both when your child is sick and when your child is well.”
There are many factors to consider when choosing a primary care pediatrician. A good place to start is asking neighbors, friends and colleagues for recommendations. When researching options, six important questions to ask include:
- Is the practice location convenient to my home?
- What are the practice’s hours – and are they convenient to my family’s schedule?
- Does the practice accept my insurance?
- Is the medical staff board-certified and pediatric focused?
- What do I do if my child gets sick after hours?
- Under what conditions do I call the office, as opposed to bringing my child in?
If your child has a specific medical condition, make sure the physician has experience treating children with that same condition and has a good working relationship with a specialist in that area.
If you are pregnant and are researching primary care pediatricians, you should also ask if the pediatrician would come visit your baby in the hospital, and if not, what the timeline and process is for seeing your newborn.
Before you make a final decision, Dr. Tsai recommends setting up an appointment to see how the practice runs and how well you mesh with the physician and office staff.
“Pay attention to the physician’s personality or demeanor as your questions are being answered,” he says. "Note whether the staff works collaboratively with each other, how easy or difficult it is to make an appointment, if the office is clean and if the patients in the waiting room look happy.”
Of all the questions you ask, the most important is if you trust and feel comfortable with your child’s medical provider. Selecting a primary care pediatrician that you and your child feel at ease with is a vital step in his or her health and well-being. Once you’ve found the right fit, you’ll feel right at home.
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