10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Pediatrician

Choosing a pediatrician is an important process. A pediatrician manages a child’s healthcare from birth to young adulthood, so finding a doctor who is a good fit both for you and your child is key for building a successful relationship. If you are looking for a new pediatrician for your child, the following suggestions can help.

Consult your friends and family 

Referrals can be a great way to find a new healthcare provider. Ask people you know – your friends, relatives, coworkers, your prenatal care provider or family practice physician – where they take their children for medical care. Ask them questions about their recommendations:

        Do your children like him/her?

        Do you feel rushed at appointments?

        Does the physician take the time to answer all of your questions?

        Does the pediatrician include you in the process of making healthcare decisions for your child?

When consulting your family and friends, you may also want to take into account whether you prefer a male or female pediatrician and any age preferences.

Interview pediatricians who may be a good fit

 This does not require going to meet them in person – a quick phone call can be a great way to get a sense of both the doctor and the helpfulness of the office staff. Call the office and explain that you are looking for a new pediatrician. If the doctor cannot talk, schedule a time to call back in the future. The following questions are a starting point – make sure that you also ask about the doctor’s experience with any specialized health concerns your child may have.

        What is your educational background? What training have you received?

        What hospital would my child be admitted to in an emergency?

        Are there separate waiting rooms for sick and healthy children?

        Is there another doctor in the practice or nurse I can speak to if you are unavailable? Are you or another physician on call after hours?

        Does your practice accept my insurance?

        Will someone in the practice be able to see my child for a same-day appointment in the event of an infection or other urgent concern?

You may also want to consider an in-person visit to see the practice for yourself and assess the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff. Take other factors into account, too – a good location, convenient office hours and ample parking are important logistical details.

Do you have more questions about your child’s health and healthcare options? Visit iuhealth.org/riley for more resources from Riley experts. 

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