As parents, you’re willing to go to different extremes and do everything for your child’s health and wellness. It’s natural to wish for them to grow and live a happy and healthy life. And one of the most crucial decisions you’ll need to make for your child’s health is choosing their pediatrician.
Why Does Your Chosen Pediatrician Matter?
Pediatricians specialize in handling children’s overall health, behaviour, wellness, and illnesses from birth, adolescence, and into their young adult years. While you can select a random pediatrician from a hospital or a phone book list, remember that choosing the right pediatrician can significantly impact your child’s wellbeing.
You’ll need to develop a long-term relationship with your chosen pediatrician, who will help you make life-changing decisions regarding your child’s health. They’ll serve as your child’s primary doctor and be the first you’ll consult if you have any concerns or problems with your child’s health. Ultimately, you’re trusting this person to look after your child’s wellbeing.
How To Choose The Right Pediatrician?
But before you get too overwhelmed, this article aims to help you choose the best and most capable pediatrician for your baby. So, how can you find the best pediatrician for your family? Here are some steps to help you pick the right one:
- Get Referrals
If you’ve never worked with a pediatrician before, especially if this is your first child, one of your best resources is referrals from friends, relatives, or healthcare providers. Perhaps someone from your friends or family also has kids and has previously worked with reputable and commendable pediatricians. But before you blindly follow their recommendations, be sure to ask them the perks or reasons why they love working with that specific pediatrician, as their reasons may not exactly match your needs.
Better yet, you may seek recommendations from your OB-GYN. Considering that you love the quality of service your OB-GYN provides, they may refer you to a pediatrician that they trust or feel is suitable for your needs. Healthcare institutions such as idahofallscommunityhospital.com or other hospitals and pediatric centres are some of the reputable providers your OB-GYN may recommend. Also, feel free to ask for recommendations from your primary care physician or family doctor.
- Do Your Research
After you’ve listed all the names and institutions you’ve gathered from the referrals, it’s time to do your online research. The internet can be a good place to find basic information about the pediatricians on your list. So, start your search by looking up their websites or profiles from the hospital’s health system website. Some of the important things you must look for are:
- The pediatrician’s experience, medical background, training, skills, and credentials
- Years of experience in the pediatric field
- Office location
- Office hours
- Contact numbers/email addresses
- Kinds of services provided
- Languages they speak
- Reviews and feedback from previous or current patients
Their credentials and board certifications are among the non-negotiable factors you should consider when choosing your pediatrician. Having complete credentials signifies that the specific pediatrician possesses all the critical skills, training, and experience needed to provide proper healthcare for your child.
Of course, the internet results won’t show you everything you need to know. So, if you can’t find all the necessary details, contact them for an appointment so you can ask all your questions and concerns during your personal meeting.
- Consider Gender
This may seem like an unnecessary factor to consider since your baby or toddler won’t mind if their doctor is a male or female. However, remember that your child’s pediatrician will be their doctor through adolescence until they reach young adulthood, so think about the following years. For instance, perhaps your soon-to-be teenage girl might be embarrassed to take a breast or pelvic exam and prefer to work with a female doctor. Meanwhile, if gender isn’t something you want to consider right now, you may choose a larger practice of pediatrics with both female and male doctors.
- Ask About Their After-Hours Care
Babies and kids sometimes get sick at the most inconvenient time. You want to ensure you can reach out to your chosen pediatrician anytime in case emergencies arise. Thus, when choosing a pediatrician, don’t forget to ask about their after-hours care and find out how they can help you if you have emergencies, concerns, or questions at night or during weekends. Do they offer 24/7 healthcare service? Or will they have an on-call staff? Preferably, opt for a pediatrician you can easily reach out to any time.
- Consider The Convenience Of Their Office Location And Office Atmosphere
You can expect your baby to have multiple check-ups, well-child visits, and appointments with their pediatrician during the first few years. Thus, another thing you should consider is the convenience of their office location. You may prefer a pediatrician whose clinic is just close to your home, workplace, or your child’s day care. The closer their clinic is, the more you can save time and money from travelling long distances.
Besides the location, you’ll also need to consider the atmosphere of their office. Remember that pediatrician appointments can sometimes be scary or overwhelming for a child, the same way it feels for them when they visit a dental clinic.
You’ll have to ensure that the doctor’s office is comfortable for your child. Do they have some toys or reading materials to keep the child happy and preoccupied while waiting for your turn? Do they have separate waiting areas for well-child visits and sick visits? A comfortable and child-friendly office will make your and your child’s visits more pleasant.
- Assess Their Communication Style
A good pediatrician is someone whom you’re comfortable talking to about all your concerns related to your child’s health. No one wants to work with a doctor who tends to gaslight, embarrass, or blame the child’s parents instead of offering comfort and solution to their problems. Negative characteristics like these are one of the reasons some parents look for another pediatrician. So, find a pediatrician whose communication style matches your own, genuinely shows interest in knowing your child and your family, and respects your decisions.
- Inquire About Their Telehealth Services
Thanks to technology, some pediatricians can now diagnose and offer their healthcare services using telecommunications technology, also known as telehealth. So, ask if they provide telehealth services. Although telehealth will never replace hands-on office visits, telehealth services may mean you’ll have fewer trips to their office, saving you time and money. You can avail of their telehealth service for your baby’s routine follow-ups or minor concerns.
Part of promoting your child’s general health and wellness is choosing the best pediatrician for them. Their pediatrician will be your best partner in providing for all your child’s health-related needs. So, start your search as early as three months before your baby’s birth so you’ll have more time to choose the best doctor who can make you and your baby comfortable, safe, and happy.