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What should expectant parents look for in a pediatrician?

 In Ask an Expert, Pediatrics, Pulse Blog

Q: How do I find a pediatrician for my baby?

Choosing a pediatrician for your baby is a big decision. Your child will see his or her doctor frequently for wellness checks and illnesses. It’s important that your family has access to convenient, trusted care. So how do you find someone who is the right fit?

Start with location

Making and keeping appointments is a lot easier when you choose a doctor who is close to your home and offers a schedule that’s convenient for you. Plus, if your child is sick, the last thing you want to do is drive across town.

Check insurance coverage

Your health insurance may limit which pediatricians your child can see and how much of his or her exam is covered.

Confirm their qualifications

Many families prefer a physician who, after completing medical school and residency, has been certified by The American Board of Pediatrics. Board certification goes above and beyond state licensing and illustrates competence in all aspects of pediatric practice. To maintain board certification, doctors must meet ongoing learning and testing requirements. All Vancouver Clinic pediatricians are board certified.

Schedule a meet-and-greet

The best way to know if you and a provider will click is to meet them face-to-face before your new bundle arrives. At Vancouver Clinic, we invite expectant parents to learn about our providers by reading their bios online. Next, parents can call our Patient Service Center (360-882-2778) to schedule a free appointment, either in-person or online. During this visit you can ask key questions, such as:

  • What made you want to become a pediatrician?
  • How much experience do you have?
  • What is your availability like?

Make sure your philosophies align

It’s important to select a doctor with whom you can develop a mutually respectful relationship. Do you have strong feelings about circumcision or breast feeding? Do you plan to follow the recommended safe sleep guidance and vaccination schedule? Pediatricians vary on how much they press certain issues.

Ask if they collaborate

Kids can have unexpected health complications, from allergies to more serious conditions. You’ll want to understand how your doctor handles referrals to specialists and how they work together with other physicians to make sure your child receives coordinated care.

Be certain there’s a backup plan

What happens if your pediatrician is booked or out of the office? Are there other pediatricians who can step in? Does the clinic offer urgent care? Not all health care needs are prearranged. To avoid ER visits or trips to clinics where doctors may not have your child’s medical history, it’s important to have a Plan B.

See how they interact

Finally, once your baby has arrived, see how your pediatrician and baby interact. Most pediatricians love working with kids and their approach shows it. Your pediatrician should be a caring and knowledgeable presence in the room. Your child deserves nothing less from a doctor.

—Megan Baker, MD

Dr. Megan Baker is a pediatrician at Vancouver Clinic’s Camas location. She partners with patients and their families to help them make the best medical decisions.

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