Finding a Pediatrician

I’m due with my first baby in Mid-[name_u]December[/name_u], and I’m still in need of a pediatrician. [name_m]How[/name_m] did you find yours? Did you meet your pediatrician in person and ask them questions before having the baby? If so, what sorts of questions did you ask? I’ve never been through this process so any help and advice is appreciated. Thanks.

With our first, I’d originally scheduled an interview with our pediatrician (not to ask anything specifically but to just get to know him a little bit) but went into labor the night before. He ended up being a great doctor for our kids. We’ve moved several times since then, otherwise they’d still be his patients. I’d say the pre-baby interview isn’t necessary. [name_m]Just[/name_m] go with your gut when you meet him or her, and keep looking until you find someone you trust. It’s also an excellent sign if another parent has recommended him/her to you.

@Sweetpeacelove- We chose ours based off a recommendation. While I was waiting for my husband to get out of his doctors appointment a woman he knows happened to be there waiting for her son to get out of PT. She has been using the pediatrician we chose for a long time. She really sold me on the doctor. After reading his bio and looking over his website I also liked what I read. Plus he is 10 minutes away from our home and has long hours which is also a bonus. I ended up calling to ensure they were taking new patients and even speaking with someone at the office made me feel reassured we picked a good pediatrician. They were very informative and helpful which I liked especially since I will be a first time mom. Of course it will come down to meeting the doctor in person to really get an idea but we opted to not have a meeting before hand or anything. We figured we will just wait and if we happen to not mesh with him we will choose another local doctor. But so far there were check marks in the positive column. I would just do research and make phone calls. And go with your gut feeling. If you feel like you want to have a meeting before hand then I would ask the office if it is possible. But for me I guess a meeting before choosing wasn’t necessary.

We went based on recommendations from trusted friends. [name_m]Just[/name_m] make sure the ped you want takes your insurance, and which insurance the newborn will be under immediately upon birth.

We also asked around from coworkers for recommendations. Once we decided, we called to make sure they accepted our insurance and that they were taking new patients (I am not sure how this works with pediatricians or if they are always accepting new patients because of the nature of their work). As it got closer, they had a day for you to go to their office as a group of expectant parents to fill out forms and meet the doctor. This was important because the pediatrician will come to the hospital to see your baby while you’re still there. I guess, too, that if you were choosing a doctor that wasn’t from your immediate area, you should be sure they service your hospital to make sure they will be able to come and treat your baby.

Firstly, read about your doctor’s education, training, credentials, and licensure. You can go to your state medical board’s website and enter the doctor’s name to make sure there have never been any complaints, discipline, or actions taken against him/her.

Secondly, make sure they are in-network for your insurance and are located conveniently to your home and-- almost more importantly-- to your work, since if you do work you’ll be squeezing in peds visits in the middle of your working day.

Thirdly, as loathe as I am to say it, read the consumer reviews sites and see what people say about both the doctor and the practice. Obviously crazy, pissed-off people write reviews more frequently than do satisfied customers, but if you see common themes (like “this office always runs behind 45-60 min”) they are more likely to be real.

Fourthly, here are the questions non-medical parents almost never ask. [name_m]How[/name_m] sick/complex is this doctor’s patient panel? (If someone has been out of training for a long time taking care of primarily well children, s/he might be rusty in picking up and managing real problems). Which hospitals does this doctor have admitting privileges to, and how do you feel about those hospitals (ideally you want someone who admits to a real, free-standing children’s hospital, if you have one in your area)? Does the practice have to ability to draw labs (phlebotomy) or perform basic imaging on-site, or would you have to make a separate appointment and drive somewhere else for that? Does the practice have separate sick and well-child waiting areas, to minimize infection? Does the doctor have a separate newborn waiting area, to minimize infection? Is the doctor academic or strictly private practice? [name_m]How[/name_m] efficiently does the practice seem to run? What kind of answering service does the doctor have (i.e. is it staffed by the practice’s own people, so they can access your child’s records when you call in, or is it a big commercial nurse hotline)? Can you do things like insurance paperwork or vaccination records online, to avoid clogging up the office and wasting your precious time driving in?

Thanks for the advice everyone. I don’t have many friends that have children yet, and my co-workers have grown children so I can’t really ask for recommendations. However, I did find a few through my hospitals “find a physician” section of their website, and did my own research on them. I made an appointment with one I really liked and will definitely be asking some of the questions suggested.