How to Pick Your Pediatrician

We focus a tremendous amount of time on preparing for your newest family member to arrive – but don’t forget to spend some time on picking THEIR primary care. Listen as I walk you through some characteristics that I think makes for a great, long lasting healthcare relationship.

Episode Transcript:

Good morning and welcome back to first breaths to first steps. I am Bev Garrison and I am a pediatric PA turned new baby health coach. Today I thought I would record and put a little bit of content out there on my podcast about how to pick your pediatrician. I worked in pediatrics for. 23 years. Before that I worked in family practice, also seeing kids. It’s super important to make sure that you feel like you have a good relationship with this healthcare provider. I like to divide this situation up into four areas. 1. do your homework 2. Logistics. As an operational procedure, 3. do a site visit and then 4. Miscellaneous things to tie up.

First thing is do your homework. You can do a background check with the state in which you live to find out: does this person have a license? Are there any sort of infractions that are placed upon that person. The American Academy of Pediatrics, their website may also help you to look up licensure and if things are correct. The other thing that you would want to do is start making your list of providers that you possibly could use by asking people in your family, your friends, anyone you work with with young kids. That way, you’re going to get a real referral and a sense of who are they seeing? Why did they see them? Why did they choose that provider? Which I think can be extremely helpful. Nothing like having a referral. All sorts of things that you can ask that referral as to why they chose that provider. If there are things that they would change most importantly and those minute details of how they interact with their child.

The other thing about doing your homework that I would like to mention is you would definitely want to double check your insurance coverage. Obviously, if you don’t have insurance coverage, I would be asking about cash pay options. If you don’t have coverage, that’s something that you’d want to know. Is there some type of discount because it can get expensive, especially with vaccines as you’re going through the well-baby process. Call your insurance company, turn your card over, look at the membership services number. Call them, give them the names of the pediatricians that you’re looking at. Sometimes you can just search them on their website and be able to know whether or not they’re a covered provider.

Lastly, in doing your homework, check online reviews. A lot of times they, if you Google a provider’s name, whether it be a doctor, a physician assistant, a nurse practitioner- you can look at what other people are saying about them on Yelp, on Google, and get some online reviews so that you understand, what people are thinking. Good and bad reviews.

Let’s move next to logistics, kind of the operational side of Choosing a pediatrician. You want to think about location. Is that going to be someplace that’s close to home? Is it going to be close to daycare? Is it going to be close to work?

All of those things play a role, also knowing their hours of operation. Do they offer early hours before work would start? Do they offer later hours in the evening to cover things that come up after the day is done? Which is usually when things come up and then also knowing do they offer weekend hours? What’s the procedure. When it’s after hours, do you call the practice? Do they send you to a nurse hotline or a triage system? Just asking those questions so that, you know, before you need it.

Parking always say this is a really important part, especially when you’re lugging a baby and a car seat and a stroller and a diaper bag.

Is it well parked? Is it. Convenient. Practices can be located at busy medical buildings, and sometimes they’re not parked well, but do they offer a valet? Those things are important to look at.

Is there a patient portal? I think part of the logistics that just makes it easier for you to be able to get access to your child’s chart, if you need it. Copies of immunizations for school, daycare forms, sports forms. It’s nice that if there’s a patient friendly portal, that you can access that and be able to get those things without much effort in having to call the office , that you could do it all online at your convenience and that it’s readily accessible. So I definitely feel like that’s a good thing to ask about.

Lastly, let’s talk about the site visit. I think that it is a good idea to call and ask, do they do meet and greets? I meet and greet is typically a very short appointment because these providers are busy. That someone would show you around the office and that you may get to chat with the provider that you’re interested in working. I do have a whole set of questions that I think are important to ask the provider, as far as, do they have a specialty? What do they love about their job?

Sometimes it’s important as well, just to ask. Or think about, are you going to see a specifically pediatric trained provider or are you going to see a family practitioner? Both are good options. I am probably biased in the pediatric world as I feel like little people, kids in particular are not just smaller adults and sometimes they take some special handling if.

At pediatrician is not available or you’ve decided to go to a family practitioner. I probably would inquire just about what their pediatric training is. maybe even ask when you’re calling to make a meet and greet appointment, what their background is with pediatrics and treating kids.

I think too, when you go for the site visit, you can ask the person who’s showing you around, what are the wait times? Get a feel of how clean the office was? How were you greeted? Did you feel rushed were the employee smiling? I think all of that gives you an overall sense as to how the practice is running and the environment in which you’ll be in. Especially if you’re coming with a sick child or a new baby, and you’re having to get everything organized in the office. It’s really nice to know that you were greeted well.

Lastly, the things that I think that are important to consider, can you schedule same day visits? I think that’s important to ask. Also, knowing what hospitals is this practice affiliated with. Will they round on you in the hospital when you’re sick? Or after you deliver your baby? Do they use a hospitalist type group? What are the length of well visits and sick visits? Sometimes that gives you a good idea as to how much time you’re going to have to make yourself a little bit more efficient. So that, you know, ” man, I’ve got to have my notes ready, my questions, all that sort of stuff. Put it in your phone, have it ready to go. I recommend being at your appointments about 10 to 15 minutes early so if you need to update any paperwork. Or fill out any forms for a well visit that you have that time and it’s not taking away from your appointment.

Lastly, I think it’s important to ask, do they have advanced practice providers? I am a physician assistant. I worked on a team with a doctor and so my patients came and saw myself and the doctor and we went back and forth. I thought it was nice. Great continuity of care. I would also ask, are you going to see the same provider each time, or can you request that? Sometimes, I think that’s important as far as establishing that relationship with a provider that could possibly be seeing your family for almost 20 years, if you’re staying in the same location.

Hopefully you found this information on how to pick your pediatrician, helpful. Remember, do your home. Get some referral information from friends, family, coworkers. Logistically, look at the operations at the practice. Where is it located? The hours, things like that. If you can do a site visit, I think that’s great. Nothing will give you more information than actually being there. Take in how, what is the environment like? Is it clean? Were you greeted? All those things. If you found this helpful, you can download a copy of the transcript notes. And if you’re interested in working with me with your new baby from first breaths to first steps, you can contact me at or email me at until next time be well.