Preparing for a baby can be an exciting and stressful period. Amidst planning for a baby shower, attending regular check-ups, baby-proofing the home and building the nursery, choosing the right paediatrician for your newborn can easily slip your mind. It is, however, a good idea to start looking for a doctor 3 months before the baby is due. Considered to be one of the most important decisions you’ll make regarding your child’s health, searching for a suitable paediatrician that fits your needs can be daunting.
In this article, we share a few easy tips to help ease your process.
Step 1: Paediatrician or family medicine doctor?
If you’re wondering whether you should see a paediatrician or the family doctor, it is important to note that while the physicians in both fields can provide excellent primary care, the biggest difference lies in the care they provide children. Paediatricians have tailored experiences in working with children and are considered specialists in their field. Family medicine practitioners however, are trained in various aspects of general medical care, which allows them to act as primary care providers for patients of varying ages – from seniors, to adults and children. This means that their practice focus and speciality is not solely on children.
The following are a list of services that are offered by a paediatrician;
- Screening and tests
- Diagnosis and treatment
- Wide range of medical and health check ups
- Management of acute and chronic conditions
- Age-appropriate information and advice on children health
Step 2: Ask for referrals and opinions
There are several ways to obtain the name of a well-qualified paediatrician and crowdsourcing for recommendations is one of the best methods to get your list started. The following are a few suggestions;
- Get opinions from family, friends, and neighbours. Reliable and trustworthy, those closest to you are the best sources of information.
- OB- It’s likely that you would have developed a friendly, trusting relationship with your OB-GYN during the course of your pregnancy. If this is the case, you can ask them for recommendations.
- Others. You could find a local mum’s group or community social media page to gather opinions and thoughts on local practitioners. Also, feel free to get recommendations from your current family doctor or primary care physician. If you’re new to an area, ask your former paediatrician for a referral in your new town.
Step 3: Do your research
It is important to keep in mind that this person you choose will guide your child through the varying growth phases they would encounter. As such, the perfect match would have to fulfill the following qualities:
- Board certification. While true that all paediatricians graduate from medical school, complete their residency program, and receive state licensing, not all of them are board certified. Board certification is a valuable tool to indicate competency in patient care, communication skills, medical knowledge as well as professionalism.
- Do they have more experience in other or related fields? Are there any additional training in certain areas? Do they have other qualifications? Is there anything specific you are looking for?
- Most paediatricians offer free visits to get to know them. These visits allow you to meet the doctor and ask him or her questions. Use this opportunity to determine if they would be a good fit for your needs and your family. Are they conscientious, agreeable or sociable? What personality trait matters to you?
- Accessibility. Consider their office location. With multiple visits scheduled in the first few months of your newborn’s arrival, make sure the office of your paediatrician is conveniently located near your home. Also check the traffic in the area and parking spaces. What would traveling durations be like during rush hour? Are there parking lots or garages? If you don’t have your own vehicle, you can choose a doctor with offices easily accessible by public transportation.
- It is essential that you ensure you and your doctor are on the same page on office operations. Few doctors offer the 24/7 availability without having to go through a portal or nurses first. How are returning phone calls handled? Is there a nurse that can answer routine questions if the doctor is unavailable? Does the paediatrician offer evening, emergency or weekend hours?
Step 4: Know what your insurance covers
From routine physicals to treatments on cuts, sprains and allergy checks, parents call upon their paediatrician for everything. If you do not intend to pay out of pocket, ensure the practise of your choice is within the in-network for your insurance plan. To receive the most insurance benefits, get in touch with your carriers for selection options on local healthcare providers.
Step 5: Compare offerings
Now that you have narrowed down your list, compare the services offered by these experts. This will allow you to receive the most out of the services and capabilities of your chosen practitioner. The following are some differentiating offerings:
- Evidence-based medical care to offer you comfort and confidence in medical decisions.
- In-home visits for the convenience of not having to expose your child to other children who may be sick in the office.
- Supplementary educational material on tips to reduce the development of health risks, virtual classes on newborn care, etc.
Looking for a paediatrician? At Coolaroo Clinic, our expert paediatricians will make sure your child is meeting developmental milestones in growth, behaviour, and skills, while addressing any additional concerns you may have. We also offer an array of services from audiology to orthopaedic, exercise physiology, psychiatry and many more to target possible health concerns. Get in touch with us for any enquiries and book an appointment today.