So, your first doctor search—finding the right OBGYN— is over. But when your baby is born, the obstetrician's role in the baby's life comes to an end.
Then, it's time to do another doctor search—for a pediatrician for your child.
Source: C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health
Knowing what to be on the lookout for can help make this process a lot less daunting.
Here are 4 questions to ask when deciding on the right doctor for your baby:
1) Is the Doctor Board Certified?
The American Board of Medical Specialities (ABMS) oversees the specific Member Boards that develop the standards for board certification.
As the ABMS explains, having a medical license means a doctor is legally allowed to treat patients. Having board certification, on the other hand, means that she is qualified to practice a medical specialty--like pediatrics—based on her education and experience.
It shows that she is dedicated to taking that extra step in ensuring that the care she provides is the best of the best.
You'll want to look for a doctor who has been certified by the American Board of Pediatrics.
Truly top-notch pediatricians and physicians will continue their education to stay up on the latest practices in caring for children or families. This could mean earning additional certifications, attending annual medical conferences and staying current on the latest medical research.
Ask your child's prospective doctor about his board certifications and how he keeps his knowledge and practical experience up-to-date.
2) How Does the Doctor Treat Her Current Patients?
Sure, being knowledgeable in their field of specialty is important for doctors, but even the most experienced physician can instill a fear of going to the doctor in babies and young children if he lacks a friendly bedside manner.
See if you can speak with prospective providers before scheduling your baby's first appointment.
A willingness to meet with you beforehand may be a sign of good people skills—which is definitely a plus for a professional whose job includes making unhappy kids happy again.
3) Does the Doctor Provide Quality Healthcare?
Quality healthcare—what does that term mean to you? You want to find a doctor whose answer to this question sounds a lot like yours.
Quality healthcare involves receiving the right treatment at the right time and in the right way so that your baby maintains the best possible health, says the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
A quality pediatrician will focus on more than just maintenance-level healthcare, says the American Academy of Pediatrics.
He'll also be able to help you make healthy lifestyle choices for your baby.
4) How's the Doctor's Availability?
If you call to schedule an appointment because you think your daughter might be sick and the receptionist tells you the next available opening isn't for another two weeks, that's not a good sign.
Sure, it'd be nice if you only had to take your child in to see the doctor for his annual physical. But chances are, that won't be the case. After all, babies don't get sick on a schedule.
You want to make sure your doctor has hours available for the unexpected. That could mean evening or weekend hours or an on-call pager number.
EIRMC is here to help you find the right pediatrician for your baby.