GREENSBORO, NC -- It's health week on 2 Wants to Know and Piedmont Parent's Eleanor-Scott Davis guided us through choosing a doctor for your child. You'd like the doctor to be close and convenient, but that's not necessarily how you should pick your pediatrician. Proximity is important, but it's not the most important thing to consider.
CONSIDER YOUR CHILD'S AGE
Davis said you should consider your child's age instead. Does the practice focus on a certain age child? Caring for an infant and caring for a teenager require a different set of skills. You're also not married to your child's doctor and can change if you feel they have outgrown them. For instance, if you think your preteen daughter might be more comfortable seeing a female doctor or your son would rather see a male, you can certainly switch doctors.
Kids getting sick never happens at a convenient time, so an office with flexible hours is important as well. Davis said parents should ask the obvious question: When are they open? If you want to be there for every well-check up but don't have a flexible job, you might need to look for a practice that offers weekend hours. Hours of operation vary greatly among practices.
House calls don't happen much anymore, but more and more doctors are making themselves available after hours by email or text. Many questions about your child's health can be answered without an office visit. Being able to email a doctor or nurse or have questions answered over the phone is invaluable. The best way to evaluate accessibility is to ask around and get others' opinions and experiences.
DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS
They are the doctor. But it's your child's health, so don't be afraid to interview them. Davis said its crucial to make sure your philosophies jive. Don't be afraid to ask your potential doctor questions on their view points on important things like immunizations. If you don't agree on the basics, you should probably look elsewhere. Many area hospitals offer "Meet the Doctor" nights where parents can meet doctors from several practices, hear them speak and ask questions.