Picking the Perfect Pediatrician
New parents and those new to the area know how important it is to find the perfect pediatrician for their family – one who will hear their concerns, respect their beliefs and treat their children with the utmost care.
Robin LaCroix is the medical director of Prisma Health Children’s Hospital–Upstate. She outlined five things to look for in a new provider for little ones.
Board certification – According to LaCroix, pediatricians who are board-certified or eligible have completed the required three years of specialized residency and they are constantly continuing their education, meaning your child will get the most up-to-date medical care out there.
Proximity - Choose a doctor that is close to home or to your child’s daycare center. When a child needs to be seen straight away, each minute is precious, so a doctor close by is an asset.
Flexibility of hours – Choose a doctor whose office hours fit with your family’s needs. If your family requires Saturday hours or later appointments, be sure to find that out in advance. Ask how they schedule who a child will see if an emergency arises – do they rotate providers or can a specific one can be requested?
Co-management – If a child sees specialists, LaCroix said it is vital for all members of a child’s team to be able to communicate. Pediatricians and specialists need to work in unison with families to give children the best level of care possible.
Comfort level – Families simply need to mesh well with their providers. Are concerns being heard and is everyone comfortable with the provider? A teen girl might not feel comfortable being checked by a male doctor, or vice versa. LaCroix said most of her male patients ask for a male provider once they hit their teen years.
Each family will have different needs, just as each provider will offer different benefits of service. If you are expecting your first child or are new to the area, look for a pediatrician who understands your beliefs about anything you feel is vital.
A family planning to switch to a new pediatrician needs to examine what caused them to leave the old one, LaCroix said. If there were issues with scheduling or feeling heard, be sure to ask those important questions before seeing a new doctor. Also, be sure to get a hard copy of your child’s records to take to the new pediatrician in case it takes a while for records to be switched over.
“Your relationship with your pediatrician needs to be one of comfort and confidence,” LaCroix said.
For more on what to look for when searching for a pediatrician, visit healthychildren.org.