Choosing a Pediatrician & Interview Questions

3

When the situation warranted it, my father-in-law used to offer these bittersweet words of encouragement: The toughest decisions to make are often between great alternatives. I honestly believe that is the case when it comes to choosing a Pediatrician.

The tried and true checklist that follows will always help you in choosing a competent, compatible Pediatrician. The checklist below is a simple guide that covers all the major criteria most would consider important in choosing a pediatrician. The first 2 criteria on the checklist are the most important; look for a Pediatrician who

  • Possesses a medical license,
  • Has a solid reputation. You can easily learn if a Pediatrician is licensed or board certified simply by going to www.caldocinfo.ca.gov/ and following the appropriate links. Its also good to know if the Pediatrician is board certified in the area of Pediatrics. Board certification isnt necessary and there are fine Pediatricians that arent board certified. However, it is the gold standard in any medical specialty field.

Your insurance will also play a significant role in who you choose, and early on you should determine whether or not a potential doctor will accept your insurance. Insurance doesnt have to be a choice breaker if you feel that the Pediatrician is worth paying cash for and they are affordable. Ask your parent friends who theyve heard good things about or experienced good care with.

And after youve created a short list of potential doctors- call for an interview. Interviews are a good idea because most Pediatricians dont charge for them and theyll give you more information than you could possibly graze elsewhere, i.e. Will the Pediatrician be on vacation when your child is born? Who covers them when theyre unavailable?

In addition to meeting with the doctor, you might get a chance to meet some of the staff, and youll probably have a chance to take a look around and see the facilities as well. Look for a waiting room that is clean, comfortable and welcoming- but remember the idea is to spend as little time possible in that welcoming room.

Finally, look for a doctor that you feel comfortable with. Some patients prefer a take-charge kind of doctor, while others want a doctor who will listen and even adapt. Alternative or complementary medicines, amended vaccination schedules, feeding routines for newborns and other issues should be all be discussed if they are important to you. As I alluded to earlier, the good news is this- there seems to be a perfect fit for everyone here in Santa Barbara.

THE CHECKLIST:
  • Determine if the doctor is in good medical standing/Has a medical license.Determine if the doctor has a good reputation.
  • Determine if the doctor is Board certified.
  • Determine if the doctor will accept my insurance.
  • Ask friends for names and experiences.
  • Get those interviews
INTERVIEW QUESTIONS:
And in some cases, why you should ask them
  • Availability- what are their hours?
  • What are the after hours care/emergencies protocols?
  • What insurance do they take?
  • How do they schedule checkups- how much time is given for checkups?
  • What is their policy for sick visits? How are they scheduled?
  • Continuity of care- will we be seeing different doctors regularly / occasionally?This scenario is unique to bigger practices and clinics.
  • Who covers call?
  • Youll want to have at least a brief introduction to the doctor/s that may see your child in case of emergencies.
  • Is the doctor accessible from the phone?
  • In many practices, it is standard protocol to have the staff, and not the doctor, address medical questions.
  • How does your practice deal with contagious disease?
  • Dont worry- every practice has a protocol- but this question comes up. It would be an easy disqualifier (and negligence on the practices part) if there was no protocol.
  • What is your policy for being late? Missed appointments? Some practices/ clinics will charge you, some wont.
  • How long is the average wait? Can we be seen the same day?
Some Helpful Terms
  • M.D. Medical Doctor- someone who graduates from Medical School.
  • Pediatricianan M.D. who studied and completed a Residency Program in Pediatrics. The Pediatric specialty includes newborns up to young adults.
  • Diplomat of the American Board of Pediatrics Official title of someone Board Certified in Pediatrics
  • FAAP Fellow of the American Association of Pediatrics is the title of a Diplomat who also pays an annual fee for the title Fellow Most M.D.s who are Board Certified pay for the Fellow title because FAAP fits better on signage, business cards etc, and is a more familiar (and prestigious) title than Diplomat of the American Board of Pediatrics

September 30, 2014

Leave a comment

3 comments

  1. Westchester NY Pediatricssays: June 15, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    You should always make sure your insurance can be used at any prospective pediatrician. Good post.

  2. Westchester NY Pediatricssays: April 20, 2016 at 11:31 am

    Knowing what questions to ask will help you interview pediatricians effectively. Good post.

  3. Pediatrician Office Westchester NYsays: April 10, 2015 at 7:24 am

    These are great ideas and examples of interview questions to ask when in search of a new pediatrician. Good post.

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When the situation warranted it, my father-in-law used to offer these bittersweet words of encouragement: The toughest decisions to make are often between great alternatives. I honestly believe that is the case when it comes to choosing a Pediatrician.

The tried and true checklist that follows will always help you in choosing a competent, compatible Pediatrician. The checklist below is a simple guide that covers all the major criteria most would consider important in choosing a pediatrician. The first 2 criteria on the checklist are the most important; look for a Pediatrician who

  • Possesses a medical license,
  • Has a solid reputation. You can easily learn if a Pediatrician is licensed or board certified simply by going to www.caldocinfo.ca.gov/ and following the appropriate links. Its also good to know if the Pediatrician is board certified in the area of Pediatrics. Board certification isnt necessary and there are fine Pediatricians that arent board certified. However, it is the gold standard in any medical specialty field.

Your insurance will also play a significant role in who you choose, and early on you should determine whether or not a potential doctor will accept your insurance. Insurance doesnt have to be a choice breaker if you feel that the Pediatrician is worth paying cash for and they are affordable. Ask your parent friends who theyve heard good things about or experienced good care with.

And after youve created a short list of potential doctors- call for an interview. Interviews are a good idea because most Pediatricians dont charge for them and theyll give you more information than you could possibly graze elsewhere, i.e. Will the Pediatrician be on vacation when your child is born? Who covers them when theyre unavailable?

In addition to meeting with the doctor, you might get a chance to meet some of the staff, and youll probably have a chance to take a look around and see the facilities as well. Look for a waiting room that is clean, comfortable and welcoming- but remember the idea is to spend as little time possible in that welcoming room.

Finally, look for a doctor that you feel comfortable with. Some patients prefer a take-charge kind of doctor, while others want a doctor who will listen and even adapt. Alternative or complementary medicines, amended vaccination schedules, feeding routines for newborns and other issues should be all be discussed if they are important to you. As I alluded to earlier, the good news is this- there seems to be a perfect fit for everyone here in Santa Barbara.

THE CHECKLIST:
  • Determine if the doctor is in good medical standing/Has a medical license.Determine if the doctor has a good reputation.
  • Determine if the doctor is Board certified.
  • Determine if the doctor will accept my insurance.
  • Ask friends for names and experiences.
  • Get those interviews
INTERVIEW QUESTIONS:
And in some cases, why you should ask them
  • Availability- what are their hours?
  • What are the after hours care/emergencies protocols?
  • What insurance do they take?
  • How do they schedule checkups- how much time is given for checkups?
  • What is their policy for sick visits? How are they scheduled?
  • Continuity of care- will we be seeing different doctors regularly / occasionally?This scenario is unique to bigger practices and clinics.
  • Who covers call?
  • Youll want to have at least a brief introduction to the doctor/s that may see your child in case of emergencies.
  • Is the doctor accessible from the phone?
  • In many practices, it is standard protocol to have the staff, and not the doctor, address medical questions.
  • How does your practice deal with contagious disease?
  • Dont worry- every practice has a protocol- but this question comes up. It would be an easy disqualifier (and negligence on the practices part) if there was no protocol.
  • What is your policy for being late? Missed appointments? Some practices/ clinics will charge you, some wont.
  • How long is the average wait? Can we be seen the same day?
Some Helpful Terms
  • M.D. Medical Doctor- someone who graduates from Medical School.
  • Pediatricianan M.D. who studied and completed a Residency Program in Pediatrics. The Pediatric specialty includes newborns up to young adults.
  • Diplomat of the American Board of Pediatrics Official title of someone Board Certified in Pediatrics
  • FAAP Fellow of the American Association of Pediatrics is the title of a Diplomat who also pays an annual fee for the title Fellow Most M.D.s who are Board Certified pay for the Fellow title because FAAP fits better on signage, business cards etc, and is a more familiar (and prestigious) title than Diplomat of the American Board of Pediatrics

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