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Bright Futures

Articles and Updates from Phoenix Children's

November 01, 2021, Pepka, Lisa, MD
11 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Pediatrician
11 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Pediatrician

Picking the right pediatrician can be a very important part of your child’s life. There are many factors to consider when choosing the primary care provider who will be there for your child’s preventive and medical care needs — from now until they reach adulthood.

Taking into account that every child is unique and has different health care needs, here are 11 questions to help you get started as you search for your child’s health care provider:

  1. Does the gender of your child’s doctor matter?
    Choose a provider with the gender that your child would most prefer. For example, if you have an adolescent daughter, she may feel more comfortable speaking with a female provider, and vice versa. Some children do not have a preference, but depending on your child’s age, it is something you may want to keep in mind.
     
  2. Is the pediatrician’s office location convenient for your family?
    You may need to make frequent visits to your pediatrician if your baby or child has many medical needs. Choose a provider who offers services near you.
     
  3. Does the pediatrician’s office hours fit your family’s needs?
    Be sure to ask if a pediatrician has certain days of the week in which they’re not in the office, so you can make sure their availability matches yours. For times when your child is ill, it’s important to determine if the office offers same-day visits and/or weekend appointments as well.
     
  4. Does the pediatrician offer after-hours care?
    Many times, a child’s health issues arise at night or when most pediatric offices are closed. Make sure your chosen pediatrician’s office offers care options during those times. Some may have extended office hours while others staff a nurse triage phone line or offer recommendations when their office is closed.
     
  5. Does the pediatrician offer an online portal?
    Many offices have a patient portal, which enables you to see your child’s medical information online 24/7. This is very convenient for accessing records, such as lab results and vaccine records, as well as communicating with your child’s doctor during times that are convenient for you.
     
  6. Does your child have special medical needs?
    If your child has medical complexities, you may want to consider a pediatrician who is experienced in and specializes in special needs health care. In these cases, specialized care and longer appointments may be needed, so find a pediatrician who can accommodate your child’s unique needs.
     
  7. Are you comfortable speaking with the pediatrician?
    It’s very important to choose a pediatrician who you are comfortable talking to. You should never feel uncomfortable asking questions about your child’s health — even questions you deem silly (because I promise, these will come up!).
     
  8. Is the pediatrician’s office easy to access?
    Typically, this question isn’t high on the priority list for many families. But, when bringing a baby or toddler into the office, or when using a stroller, having a pediatrician that has offers a first-floor entrance, elevator access and/or nearby parking becomes much more appreciated.
     
  9. Are you and the pediatrician on the same page when it comes to your child’s care?
    Most parents have viewpoints about their child’s health and wellness. It’s important to find a pediatrician who shares similar health care philosophies or can support your approach. For example, some parents may prefer a more immediate, in-depth evaluation in certain health situations while other parents may wish to monitor a situation and wait before pursuing further evaluation. This question also leads right into our next one.
     
  10. Do you and the pediatrician agree on vaccines?
    It’s important to find out if your chosen pediatrician will honor your vaccine decisions for your child.
     
  11. Does the pediatrician’s office accept your health insurance?
    Make sure your pediatrician accepts your health insurance and is considered “in network” to avoid additional expenses. If you don’t have health insurance, consider finding a pediatrician who offers a self-pay option.

It may be overwhelming when looking at all of these considerations. However, often only a few are really important to each family. I recommend that your family decide what is most important in a pediatrician and find one in your area that can best serve your child’s needs. Phoenix Children’s Pediatrics pediatricians maintain the highest levels of accreditation and pursue ongoing education to stay abreast of the latest trends in the medical field. Phoenix Children’s Pediatrics also has several locations throughout the Valley and in Cottonwood to serve you.

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