I can’t believe I’m far enough into this pregnancy that we need to interview a pediatrician. It was overwhelming to me at first. I quickly realized though that I knew most of the questions to ask, but I hadn’t thought about them. I feel like this happens to a lot of us, though. We easily forget questions like, “Do you take my insurance?”, because we’re so busy being worried about the hot-button issues of the day. We are so busy worrying about whether immunizations are bad for you or the latest disease du jour to focus on the smallest yet still super important things. I spent the last couple of days considering what basic questions should be asked when you interview the pediatrician and how to not lose focus.
For me, it is most important that we are on the same page with our doctor. Of course, we make all the decisions about our child’s healthcare, but you don’t want to be fighting with your health care professional ALL the time when you could just choose the best doctor for your needs in the first place. This is why interviewing the pediatrician is so important.
The first thing you need to do in choosing a pediatrician is discuss with your partner what kinds of things are important to you. This will make interviewing the pediatrician easier because you will present a united front. I’ve made it obvious that we are pro-immunization so that was an easy thing to settle. We are completely anti over medication as well. You don’t want to end up with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The hubs and I are also pro using organic materials in our home and around our garden so we are good to go there. Now it’s just about being intentional when finding the best pediatrician for our child.
Here are the questions I have on my list for our time interviewing the pediatrician:
- Do you take my insurance?
- How many years have you been in practice?
- Do you have any specialties?
- What kind of illnesses do you see most frequently?
- What are the office hours?
- How long is the wait to get an appointment for a sick child?
- Are there any weekend or evening hours available?
- How do I reach your office for non-emergent questions: phone or email?
- How do I reach you if my child is sick after hours?
- What hospitals do you have privileges at?
- How do you handle payments, billing, lab charges, and insurance claims?
- Do you have children?
- Will you be available to discuss behavioral developments?
- What are your views on breastfeeding, circumcision, antibiotics, immunizations, parenting methods, childhood obesity, sleep training, and alternative medicine?
- What parenting books or other resources do you recommend on baby or child care?
Then I also have a list of questions to ask yourself about your experience at the pediatrician’s office
- Was everything clean?
- Was the doctor’s office convenient for you?
- Is the waiting room pleasant and kid-friendly?
- Where the staff polite, patient, and helpful
- Was parking readily available and easy to use?
- How long was your wait?
- Do you like the doctor’s communication style?
- Did you feel comfortable?
- If there were any reservations what were they?
The truth is that you have to listen to your gut, but you also have to make sure that your gut is being reasonable. I know it’s easy to think that nothing is good enough for our precious little ones so we just have to question ourselves. There is also absolutely nothing wrong with having more questions after you’ve left the doctor’s office either. You should be able to ask as many as necessary, but I’d try not to call the office with one question at a time during this stage. You should create a list and call when you think you’ve exhausted all of them. In other words, you want to respect their time as well.
What questions did you ask your pediatrician or what questions do you plan to ask? Are you happy with your decision?