Seeking Dr. Right: Choosing the best doctor for your child

Seeking Dr. Right: Choosing the best doctor for your child

Whether you are expecting a baby or moving to a new community, finding a primary care provider for your child’s health care needs is important.

Pediatricians and family medicine doctors provide routine care for children, from newborns to young adults. Use this step-by-step guide to help you find a pediatrician or family medicine doctor who is right for your family.

Step 1: Ask around

One of the best ways to find a good doctor is to get referrals from people you trust. “Ask your obstetrician for recommendations or ask other parents who their child’s doctor is and what they like about him or her,” recommends Andrew Hertz, MD, Medical Director of UH Rainbow Care Network – University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital’s expansive pediatric care network that includes pediatric primary care, specialty care, urgent care, emergency services, inpatient care, and neonatal and high-risk pregnancy care.

Are you new to the area? Visit OnlyOneRainbow.org and use the Find a Rainbow Doctor search tool to find providers in your area.

Step 2: List your priorities

Before you start to interview any doctors, think about what is important to you and your family. Ask yourself these questions to help you develop your criteria:

  • What experience does the physician have? Does he or she have a specialty? Is he or she board-certified?
  • Is the doctor’s office near my home or place of work?
  • What are the office hours? Are there weekend and/or evening hours?
  • Does the practice have a website with meaningful information? Can I access my child’s medical records online?
  • Does the office offer same-day sick appointments?

Step 3: Ask questions

“Call the doctor’s office that is first on your list and ask to speak with a nurse or the office manager,” suggests Dr. Hertz. “Find out if the doctor meets your initial criteria, is accepting new patients and is covered on your health insurance plan.”

Step 4: Meet face-to-face

It is often a good idea to meet with a few prospective physicians before your baby is born. “Many pediatricians offer a special time for parents to visit the office, learn about the doctors and staff, and ask questions,” says Dr. Hertz. Be sure to ask whether there is a charge for this consultation.

During the interview, use these questions as a guide:

  • What is the physician’s opinion on immunizations and use of medications?
  • Will your child see the same doctor for all visits?
  • Who do you call if your child gets sick overnight or on weekends?
  • How long does it take to get an appointment?

Step 5: Make a decision

Ask yourself these questions to help you make a decision. During your visit, did the doctor and office staff:

  • Spend adequate time with me and make me feel comfortable?
  • Listen to me and answer my questions?
  • Seem friendly and interested in children?

“Remember, you and your child’s doctor are a team in your child’s health care efforts,” says Dr. Hertz. “Take the time to ensure you have the right partner.”

Find your Rainbow doctor today

Our primary care physicians provide safe, effective, high-quality care for kids, from newborns to young adults, at more than 70 locations. Find a doctor online at OnlyOneRainbow.org.

Andrew Hertz

ANDREW HERTZ, MD
Medical Director, UH Rainbow Care Network
Clinical Assistant Professor, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

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