Your child is a piece of your heart, which makes finding a pediatrician who you trust for guidance and reassurance an important task. You want a doctor who is trustworthy, experienced and friendly. A doctor you can partner with throughout your child’s growth and development. Furthermore, you want someone that will actively listen to your concerns and be able to add an element of fun for your child.
Luckily, finding a pediatrician doesn’t have to be difficult. Dr. Ameera Nauman, pediatrician with OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony’s Health Center, offers this easy three-step process for finding a partner who will keep your family healthy.
The first step is to talk to people you trust. Word of mouth is the best way to identify candidates. Face-to-face conversations with members of your circle give you direct feedback on their feelings toward a provider.
Start by talking to your:
After gathering direct input, use the internet.
“This is a perfect opportunity to put your social media network to work. Ask your connections for recommendations,” Dr. Nauman said. “It will give your group of friends a chance to have a group discussion about the pros and cons of area pediatricians and services.
“Use these two methods to come up with a shortlist. If you live in a rural setting and have a limited number of options, research all of them.”
After you settle upon your top six candidates, start doing your research. You can go to the internet and find out their credentials, experience, legal issues, and, most importantly, past patient reviews.
A couple of good sites include:
“Just because you read a bad review doesn’t mean you should scratch that physician off of the list,” Dr. Nauman said. “Make a note of it so you can ask the pediatrician how they’d respond in certain situations. Sometimes people don’t get along, have different care philosophies or have a simple misunderstanding. In the heat of the moment, people can go online and say things that are harsh or unfair.”
Location. Location. Location.
While doing your research, take note of the office locations and hours.
“Whether this is your first child or you have many, loading up everyone can be stressful. Make sure your pediatrician is in a convenient location with hours that work for you,” Dr. Nauman said. “Newborns need regular visits for wellness checks, so convenience should be included on your list for choosing a possible candidate.”
Once you narrow down your list to your top three candidates, you can get down to the nitty-gritty. The final step is setting up a meet and greet or prenatal visit.
When composing your list of questions, focus more on what matters to you. In other words, look for answers that would affect your decision. You should have already checked their credentialing and experience online during the research step.
Gear your questions toward essential things about their philosophy of care on:
Other things to consider:
- Do they have alternate means of communicating
- Is the office staff friendly
- How responsive are they to phone calls
- Is the office clean
- Do they have separate sick- and well-waiting areas
- Do they have evening or weekend hours
- Is there an after-hours line
- What are their hospital affiliations
- How many visits would they expect in the first year
- What tests can be done in the office
- Are there other pediatricians available if there is an emergency or your pediatrician is unavailable
- Do they offer same-day sick appointments
“When you are waiting for your interview, watch the staff, and see how the office operates.” Dr. Nauman said. “You want to see if they go the extra mile for their patients. Finding the right match is important, and we are all different. Maybe you like a fast, no-nonsense approach. Maybe you like to slow down and talk things out. There is no right or wrong answer. Find a physician with a team you trust.”
Click here to search for an OSF Medical Group pediatrician near you.