Tips for Choosing a Pediatric Doctor
Be comfortable with your choice of pediatric doctor
It is important that you are comfortable with the choice that you make. In fact, if your family is currently being treated by another physician, but the fit does not seem right, we can help. Finding the right one for you may take a few tries, but it is worth the effort to find the right one.
Evaluate the office
The pediatric doctor is not the only one that should be evaluated. Decisions should be mostly based on the doctor, but also the staff and office. The nurses should be kind and work well with children. They will see the children as much as the pediatrician will see them, they should be well-trained and like kids.
Questions to ask when meeting the pediatrician
It is important to get a sense of what the pediatrician offers. Plus, feeling comfortable with them and their level of care is essential. To find out more about them and their practices, ask questions. The answers to these questions can help to determine if they are right for you.
Tips for finding a pediatric doctor your kids will enjoy visiting
Here are some tips and guidelines to follow while choosing the best one for you. Each child and family is different so it is wise to take time in getting to know pediatricians, how their office functions and selecting one who is a good fit.
Ask for a referral
If moving or needing to switch to a new physician, it can be helpful to ask for a referral. Our office may know of another pediatrics office that is highly regarded. Otherwise, parents at school can be a helpful source of information.
tips to get more pediatric patients through your door
At Dr. Zolman’s practice, doctors and staff share informational folders with patients who mention children and grandchildren. The folder contains an InfantSEE pamphlet and a vision simulator card (from the Ohio Optometric Association). “Make sure staff are well-versed on your practice’s services,” Dr. Zolman says. Whether it’s handing out folders or helping contribute to a team managing a practice’s social media, “having staff involved is a huge part of it,” she says.
Be strategic about your social media.
Facebook and Instagram are great places to catch the attention of and educate information-hungry parents, the doctors say. “Had the best time giving sweet little Rosie her first eye exam!” reads an Instagram post by Dr. Zolman’s practice. “The AOA recommends scheduling your baby’s first eye assessment at 6 months to ensure healthy visual development.” Using photos of patients, with their approval, makes eye care ‘real’ to the public,”
Be open to leaving the office and going into the community.
Talk to parent groups, nurses, child care providers and physicians. “Our largest referral source for the program is our local pediatricians,” Dr. Gregory says. “They include the information about the program in their well-child visits. This brings into our clinic many new families as well as educates our current patients who are new parents. Once they are in for the infant eye assessment, we make sure we explain why this no-cost assessment is so important to ensuring the proper development of their child. We also let them know that we will send our assessment information back to their clinic, so it is in the child’s health record. This shows that we are coordinating care with the pediatrician and that we are part of their children’s health care team.”
Create welcoming, kid-friendly spaces in the office.
“We have a children’s space in the waiting room with a colorful wall mural and toys for them to play with,” Dr. Gregory says. “We also include toys and children’s books in each exam room. I have outlet covers on all electrical outlets in the exam rooms. This shows parents you have thought through having children in your space and are welcoming them. Another aspect to consider in making your patients feel welcome is the greeting and reaction from your staff. Our staff comment on the babies when they are checking in and often start conversations with the parents about their children. This adds to the environment and impression you are creating for your new patients.”
How to Choose a Pediatrician
With a list of doctors in hand, call the office of each. Explain that you are looking for a pediatrician for your child, and inquire about the doctor’s background and training, as well as general office procedures. If you are impressed with what you hear, arrange for an interview during which you can meet the doctor and ask some additional questions. It may be more convenient to do this interview by telephone.
Here are some key questions to ask and things to consider during this first meeting:
What medical school did the pediatrician attend, and where did he or she undergo postgraduate and residency training? (Medical directories in many public libraries and online—such as the American Board of Medical Specialists Directory—can also help answer these questions.)
What are the doctor’s present hospital appointments? If it becomes necessary for your child to be hospitalized, where would he or she be admitted?
Tips for Selecting a Pediatrician
What to ask at a first meeting
At your first consultation, it’s important to determine whether you feel confident having this doctor take care of your baby. You may find it helpful to talk with the pediatrician about practical and philosophical concerns you may have about your baby’s care. Remember, you have a choice in selecting your child’s pediatrician, and you may find it helpful to visit more than one office or physician. Below are considerations, topics and questions you may want to discuss.
Practicalities of care
How do the office staff and nurses treat you? The pediatrician and staff should follow the “no-question-is-stupid” philosophy. These are the people you will turn to for assistance the first time your baby develops a rash, gets a fever or takes a tumble, and you want to be confident that your questions and concerns will be addressed by professionals with whom you can develop a caring relationship.
Talking to your pediatric patients: Tips from a pediatric hospitalist
Communicate on their level
Pediatricians treat a wide range of patients, from newborns to young adults. Dr. Lloyd’s approach to engaging patients depends on their age, maturity and developmental level.
“With little kids, you kind of try to be silly,” she explains. “With school-age kids, you find some common ground, like talking about a Disney character or TV show. For teenagers or young adults, you talk to them with the same respect you would use when talking to a grown-up.”
Determining the appropriate way to communicate with developmentally delayed patients often requires talking to the parents in advance. “A patient might be 15 years old but developmentally be more like a 6-year-old. In that case, it’s really important to chat with the family and get a sense of where the child is at.”
Engage the parents
For shy or stoic children, pediatricians must rely on parents for both information and assistance.
Dr. Lloyd says toddlers, in particular, often hesitate to talk to doctors. So she steps back and has parents ask questions for her. “The family can tell you a lot, but it’s important to hear symptoms in the child’s words, too,” she says. “Some patients might be too intimidated to talk to me, but if their parents repeat my questions, they’ll usually answer.”
She also relies on parents when communicating with children who don’t want to admit how bad they feel. “We see this a lot with chronically ill kids,” says Dr. Lloyd. “It’s a defense mechanism. They know if they say something hurts, you might poke them again for blood or do more procedures on them. Parents will often say, ‘He won’t tell you when something is really hurting and his face won’t change.’ Knowing that is really helpful because you need to do more investigation and reassure the child that it’s important to discuss his or her pain with us so you can help diagnose the issue and make it better.”