By Nancy Johnson Horn
Choosing a doctor for your child is an important decision. Here at CBSNewYork, we’re giving you some practical advice to finding a good pediatrician for your kids.
We spoke to Pediatrician Karl S. Neumann, a Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Weill Medical College of Comell University and Clinical Associate Attending Pediatrician at New York Presbyterian Hospital / Cornell Medical Center. He also runs kidstraveldoc.com.
Dr. Neumann recommends informally polling a dozen or so parents at your local playground. According to him, asking other parents who have kids around your child’s age is a much more savvy way to find a pediatrician than checking Web sites or calling your local pediatric hospital.
“These parents are in same trenches as you,” Neumann said. “They have, consciously or unconsciously, sifted through, evaluated and discussed the pediatric care available in your neighborhood and have an unofficial consensus and are most likely going to tell you to look for several factors like the ediatricians’ availability, ease of getting an appointment, waiting time, friendliness of the staff. and other attributes you are looking for.”
Other things to consider:
1. Location: How long will it take you to get to the office? While you may not mind driving 20 or 30 minutes to a doctor you like, when you have a sick child in the backseat and rush hour hits, it’s just not always practical. The same goes for taking a long subway or bus ride.
2. Office Hours: A practice that has late and/or weekend hours is ideal for working parents or when kids get sick after normal office hours and days.
3. Solo practitioner or large practice? There are benefits for both. You and your children may develop a very close relationship with a solo practitioner, who’ll have another doctor cover for them when they are off or on vacation. But you may not know and be as comfortable with the covering doctor. A larger practice will always offer a doctor you are familiar with, but you may not know or even like all of the doctors. If your child gets sick and that doctor you don’t really like is on duty — you may not be as comfortable.
Once you narrow down a few names and start interviewing pediatricians, study their listening skills. Will the doctor listen to your concerns (no matter how small) or will they rush you out of their office? Do they return phone calls quickly or hours later? What’s their position on breastfeeding and vaccines – does it match your own philosophies? Will they let you space out the vaccination schedule if you wish? If a more holistic approach is important to you, will the doctor be supportive?
With some extra though and planning, we are sure that you will find the best pediatrician for your little ones!
Nancy Johnson Horn is a blogger with Mom in the City (www.mominthecity.com).