Friday, April 26, 2013

Questions to Ask When Interviewing a Pediatrician

My husband and I are getting ready for the birth of our son, and as part of that process, we face the daunting task of finding a pediatrician to care for our itty bitty.  Our appointment with the pediatricians we hope will be a good fit is set for May 28, and I have been working on putting together a list of questions for the doctor with whom we will be meeting.

We chose to interview this particular office because they have 8 doctors on staff, a daily walk-in clinic from 8 to 9 a.m., and their office is in the same building as my OBGYN and right across from the hospital where our little man will be born.  They also were all very nice to me on the phone, which was a huge factor in me deciding to meet with them.  Any time a doctor's office staff is rude or pushy, I run the other way.  If the doctor is willing to tolerate that in the people who often are responsible for first impressions, then he or she is probably rude or pushy, too.

Below are the questions I came up with so far.  Please share any other suggestions or experiences in the comments.
  1. Participation with insurance.  This one is huge, of course.  If the office does not participate with your insurance, you probably want to look elsewhere.
  2. Travel preparation services.  Because the hubby and I travel a lot, we want to make sure that we choose a doctor who will be able to help us prepare our son for international travel in the years to come.  Obviously, we will not be taking him to any high-risk areas when he is very small, but any time you go to another country, it is good to check into any possible health risks.  Having a doctor who is well-versed in travel health is essential for traveling families like us.
  3. Vaccination schedule.  Different doctors have different schedules for vaccinations.  It is good to know what you should expect for your child such as how often vaccinations will be given and at what age they will be administered.  Also, be sure to ask about how flexible the doctor is on the schedule and whether you can spread the vaccinations out more over time.
  4. Recommended vaccinations.  I plan to get most, if not all, of the recommended vaccinations.  My father nearly died from polio when he was a baby, and in this global age, an outbreak of deadly disease is only a plane ride away, especially with so many people deciding not to vaccinate their children against diseases that still exist all over the world.  However, it is still important for me to know exactly what vaccinations are recommended by my baby's doctor, as well as which ones he or she may think are less important.  If nothing else, I want to make sure that my child gets protection against the horrific diseases that could easily make a comeback in this country, especially since there are now so many potential carriers.
  5. Internet appointments and resources.  I hate the telephone.  If I can avoid using it, I will.  So one thing I love in a doctor's office is the ability to contact them via the internet, at least for general things.  HIPAA laws prevent some communications, but doctors who are willing to at least allow patients to request appointments via the internet are always going to get an extra vote in my book.  If I can also ask a general question via email and see whether I really need to be concerned about some issue with my child, even better.
  6. Ability to get same day appointments.  If your little one does get sick, it is important to know how long you should expect to wait before getting an appointment.  If the practice is too busy, you might end up having to wait a day or two before you can get in to see the doctor.  When your child is suffering, that is an eternity.
  7. Frequency of recommended appointments.  Different doctors recommend seeing children on different schedules for wellness checks.  Be sure to find out how often your doctor will want you and your little one in there.  World of Pediatrics offers printable forms for each recommended wellness visit.
  8. Other office locations.  Usually you can find this information online, but if your pediatrician does not have a website, make sure to ask if there are any other office locations.
  9. Cloth diapering.  If you plan to use cloth diapers, ask the doctor how familiar he or she is with cloth diaper specific issues such as topical creams, antibiotics, and rashes.
  10. How to contact during non-office hours.  Finally, make sure you know what to do if you need the doctor during non-business hours.  Is there someone on call?  Also, if you are choosing a solo practitioner, find out who will cover the doctor's duties when he or she is on vacation or otherwise unavailable.  Make sure you get contact information before you need it.

1 comment:

  1. Nice list you have here on what to do first in order to find the perfect pediatrician for your baby or kids. Not all first-time parents have the idea that asking them is a big help for kid care.