Lots of patients begin interviewing pediatricians because they know it is something they should do, but once they get in the office they quickly realize that they don’t know what they should be asking! As Dr. Jenn at Village Pediatrics says, ‘You don’t know what you don’t know’.
You want to chat with the doctor and make sure you feel comfortable – you will be asking a lot of questions of this person over the years, some will be serious and some might feel a bit silly, and the last thing you want to be worried about is that your doctor is judging you. Ideally, this practice will be a medical home for your child both in sickness and in health and you want to feel a connection.
Once you have established a rapport, ask these 3 questions to ensure the practice is right for you.
- How accessible are the doctors of this practice? When you call with a question, are you routed through an advice nurse before you can connect to a doctor? Do you have the ability to email, text or phone them? How do they handle out-of-hours concerns? How do they coordinate sick visits?
- Do they have conveniences that will help you? Some that might benefit your family are: walk-in hours, extended hours, sick and well waiting rooms so that a doctor’s visit doesn’t feel like a guaranteed sick day in your imminent future, and dispensing basic medications so you don’t need to drag a sick child to the pharmacy.
- Does the doctor run their practice in a way that will make you and your baby feel comfortable? Does he or she take their time with you? Is the space designed to make children feel comfortable? Does the doctor believe in educating families along with treating them? All of these points will make visits to the doctor infinitely more pleasant and helpful for you as a parent.
Finding the right doctor is important but always remember you aren’t locked into a contract! You can always switch providers so don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
These tips were gathered from interviews with Village Pediatrics, a unique pediatric practice in Westport CT, which aims to be a true medical home for patients and their families.
Jessica Hill is a co-founder of The Parent Collective, a prenatal class series in NYC and Fairfield County, CT, which offers expectant parents both education and support in an open, social and judgment-free setting. By attending this class series, parents will build friendships with families living in close proximity and delivering babies at around the same time, to help them through those first few months with baby and beyond. Classes are currently running at NY Kids Club TriBeCa and in multiple locations in CT. Like them on Facebook or follow on Instagram.
The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog contributor’s. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Writers may have conflicts of interest, and their opinions are their own.