Choosing the right pediatrician for your child can involve significant consideration. Getting overwhelmed by all the choices available is normal. However, a bit of groundwork and pre-planning may help you hone down to a suitable choice.
So what’s the best way to start? Many times, the best referrals come from your close friends, colleagues and OB/GYN who are likely parents themselves. Another place to look for a list of board-certified practitioners is the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)’s HealthyChildren.org website. Once you have a short list of names, it’s time to investigate further to see what’s right for you and your child. Make sure everyone on your shortlist participates in your insurance plan.
The Importance of Choosing a Pediatrician
Choosing the right pediatrician is more important than most parents think. And, finding the right one is not hard, especially in Fresno CA, but you need to begin as soon as possible. You can ask your obstetrician for names, and talk with other parents about their pediatrician. It is often a good idea to meet with two or three prospective pediatricians before your baby is born. Many pediatricians offer a special time for parents to come and visit the office, learn about the doctors and staff, and ask questions. There may or may not be a charge for this visit.
So even if you have a healthy newborn or an older child with a simple cold or ear infection, you should put some thought into who cares for him, just in case his medical problems are a little more serious than you think.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Pediatrician
The pediatrician you choose will come to know your family well, and you need to be comfortable with your choice. Taking the following tips into account will help you with this major step.
Credentials and expertise
A pediatrician specializes in the care of infants, children, and adolescents and has completed training in pediatrics following graduation from medical school. After completing their residency, many pediatricians become board-certified by the American Board of Pediatrics.
Take into account the range of experience and how long the pediatrician has been in practice. Also, if have they worked only as a private practitioner or possess some experience in urgent care, group practices, and emergencies. Working in varied health care settings can expand a pediatrician’s knowledge. After narrowing your choice, set up a meeting to meet in person and interview. Before choosing a pediatrician questions to ask, you can also contemplate attending open houses that several practices offer to gain more information about their practice.
Some pediatricians are independent of hospitals or health care systems and some are employed by hospitals or hospital corporations. Corporately owned doctors may be contracted to send patients to their own group or hospital. Independent physicians may not have this arrangement. There are advantages and disadvantages of both of these scenarios, but you should know, in advance, what your doctor’s plan is for additional care.
While not necessarily a deal breaker, location is definitely an important factor to consider in this decision. Keeping in mind the regular visits you may prefer a short commute. Also taking a sick child to see the doctor you will love to be able to drive and be in the clinic as fast as possible. So, choose a practice in a central location and not too far from home.
Access can come in many forms, like express care locations that offer walk-in, after-hours care by pediatricians. Access can also be in the form of in-office walk-in hours or even a pediatric helpline. Children can get sick at the most unexpected times, so it’s important to have a pediatric network that is always there for you and your child.
You also will want to know if the pediatrician works in a group. This would raise the question of whether your child sees the doctor in the group that is available at the time of your appointment or your specific doctor. A group arrangement can allow you to get faster and more convenient appointments. However, if you pick a primary doctor and the child sees that same doctor for every visit, you build a single relationship. Either way, you should decide what is best for your family.
Network services and ease of use
Some doctors have in-house lactation nurses to help new mothers. Others have lab services on-site for convenience. Some allow you to make appointments and see your child’s labs and immunization records online. Determine which additional services might be important to you and ask your pediatrician about their capabilities in those areas.
Pediatric offices are often a part of a larger network. The continuity of care offered by a larger pediatric network between locations and specialists will allow each doctor that interacts with your child to know their own personal medical history and update it as they grow.
Considering gender when picking your pediatrician may not be a matter of grave concern. Your baby certainly will not care if the doctor is a male or female. However, you may like to take into consideration the future years. For example, your daughter when she grows may feel conscious of a breast or pelvic examination if the doctor is a male. But if you wish to disregard gender, deliberate about selecting a larger practice which may include both female and male doctors.
Building a relationship
Getting to know your pediatrician may be crucial. Arrange a consultation to meet him and know his philosophy of care and style of working. Your doctor will be your adviser and partner in caring for your kid. His methods may permit taking into account your understandings as well.
Also, pay particular attention to how the doctor interacts with your kid. Try and assess how your doctor relates and warms up to your child during the first few visits to ascertain whether they are a decent fit or not.
Determining a good pediatrician for your kid may be the single most vital choice you will make for his health. The task may seem intimidating. But you must realize that you are not looking for the finest pediatrician in the world but trying to find the best and most appropriate one for your child.
At Pediatric Associates California, Dr. Liliana Caceres and Dr. Alfredo Garcia are both Board Certified in Pediatrics and Fellows of the American Academy of Pediatrics, with 15 years of experience in private practice.
As staff at Valley Children’s Hospital, Saint Agnes Medical Center and Clovis Community Hospital, Dr. Caceres and Dr. Garcia are able to take care of your children and coordinate care in different settings.