Wednesday, February 20, 2008

44 Questions for a Prospective Pediatrician

My wife and I need to pick a pediatrician. There are a number of websites that suggest questions to ask a prospective pediatrician. Here is our compilation.

  1. When and where did the doctor complete medical school and residency?
  2. Is the doctor a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics or any other specialty organization?
  3. How long has the doctor been in practice?
  4. Does the doctor have any pediatric areas of subspecialty?
Attitudes and Habits
  1. Is the doctor late for the interview or meeting?
  2. Assuming both parents are present, does the doctor involve both parents equally?
  3. Does the doctor treat parents as knowledgeable consumers or accepting clients?
  4. Does the doctor volunteer information or wait for questions?
  5. What are the doctor's views on breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and circumcision?
  6. What are the doctor's views on both parents working?
  7. What are the doctor's views on alternative medicine?
  8. What are the doctor's views on treatment of sick kids? When would the doctor take an aggressive approach verses letting nature run its course?
  9. What are the doctor's views on preventative medicine? What does the doctor think promotes health and wellness in children?
  10. What are the standard procedures for healthy child checkups? How much time do they schedule for these checkups, and is that enough time to have parents' questions answered?
  11. How does the doctor stay current with the latest trends in disease prevention, treatment, nutrition, behavioral problems, and child development concepts? What type of continuing education is habit?
  12. As a first impression, do the parents find the doctor and staff likeable and trustworthy?
  1. Is the office conveniently located for less travel time with a sick child?
  2. How long does the practice plan to continue at the current location?
  3. Does the practice have multiple offices you can visit?
  4. At how many locations does the doctor spend time during the workday?
  5. Does the waiting room have different waiting areas for well and sick children?
  6. Does the waiting room have easily cleaned toys? How are they cleaned, and how often?
  7. What are the office hours? Are there early morning and/or late evening hours for working parents?
  8. How long in advance must you book appointments?
  9. What lab work can be performed at the pediatrician's office?
  10. Are there any diagnostic facilities on site such as X-rays, blood work, etc.?
  11. How does the office deal with after-hours minor emergencies? Is there a 24-hour phone number to talk to a doctor?
  12. At which hospitals does the doctor have privileges? Which emergency room should you use for major emergencies?
  13. How many doctors are there in the practice? Are there any plans to add (or remove) doctors from the practice?
  14. Who covers for the doctor when on vacation?
  1. Is there a specific time during the day that the doctor (or office) prefers to take phone calls?
  2. How does the doctor (or office) handle parents needing to call about concerns after hours?
  3. Does the doctor (or office) use e-mail to answer questions about concerns?
  4. Does the office mail out reminders for scheduled immunizations and checkups?
  5. What happens if you miss a scheduled visit? Can you easily reschedule? Is there a fee?
  6. Do appointments consistently run late? (Ask parents in the waiting room.)
  7. Fees and Payment
  8. Does the practice accept your insurance?
  9. How are insurance claims handled? Will the practice bill your insurance company directly?
  10. How much is the cost of a standard office visit?
  11. Does the practice accept checks and credit cards?
  12. Is payment due at the time of the visit, or will the practice bill you?
  13. Are immunization shots extra, or are they included in the office visit charge?
Delivery and Recovery
  1. Will the doctor be present at the birth?
  2. When after the birth will the doctor come to see it at the hospital? How many times?

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