Selecting a pediatrician is a very important step in every parent’s life as well as the life of their child. There can be many different factors to consider when making this decision, but there are a few in particular that should carry the most weight for you and your family.
Check for Board Certification
There are many different specialties and training programs available to medical professionals, though the top qualification parents should be looking for in a new pediatrician is board certification. Providers can only attain this certification after meeting specific requirements as mandated by the American Board of Pediatrics.
You may also notice providers with “FAAP” written after their name. This is a designation that they are a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which is the highest attainable membership within the organization.
Office Convenience and Atmosphere
It is very common for parents to select a pediatric group that is located near their home, work, or child’s daycare center. Many practices will also offer after hours or urgent care appointments in order to provide more flexibility to their patients. While a nearby office is certainly ideal, it is also important to consider the overall environment at your chosen pediatric office. Appointments for newborns and toddlers occur quite frequently to ensure that they are meeting developmental milestones, so since you and your child are likely to spend a great deal of time at your pediatrician’s office, you want to be sure that you both feel entirely comfortable in that setting.
Assess Their Approach
Just as it is important to feel comfortable in the waiting room, it is also critical that parents and children feel comfortable during face-to-face appointments with their pediatrician. Everyone has their own personal preferences, so make sure to find a pediatrician that is in line with your core values when it comes to caring for your child. It is a great sign to find a pediatrician that you feel is fully attentive and genuinely compassionate toward you and your family.
Read Their Reviews
A great indicator of a pediatrician’s skills is the feedback given by their other patients. A bad review from one or two disgruntled people is not the end of the world, but if their overall rating out of many different views is extremely low, it is certainly a red flag. If you don’t have a friend or family member to ask for a referral, try searching across several popular directories such as healthgrades, WebMD, or Google My Business to find a highly rated pediatrician near you.
Key Questions to Ask
Parents will often visit a pediatrician’s office to complete a preliminary consultation that can help them decide if that particular practice is the right fit for them. This visit is a perfect opportunity to ask lots of questions, but if you are unsure of what to ask, start here:
- What type of training did they undergo?
- What hospitals are they affiliated with, and will those be the facilities chosen if your child were to require hospitalization?
- Is there a way to quickly make an appointment if your child has an acute illness and needs to be seen right away?
- Is the practice comprised of multiple physicians that you will be working with, or will you always see the same pediatrician at each visit?
- Is there a way to contact them if after regular business hours or during holiday closings?
- What are the practice’s billing and insurance policies, and how are insurance forms processed?
Visit Pediatricare of Northern Virginia Today
If you would like to learn more about the pediatricians at Pediatricare of Northern Virginia, please contact us by calling (703) 330-3939, or by submitting an appointment request through our online form.