10 Considerations When Choosing A Doctor For Your Kids

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The importance of having a trustworthy doctor for your kids can never be overemphasized. After all, a child’s early years are quite delicate. Any mistake concerning their health may be life-threatening. 

Also, the fact that your kids can’t speak for themselves makes it more challenging to attend to their needs. All they’re given by Mother Nature is the ability to cry, and you must be ready to correctly identify what’s hurting or bothering them once the waterworks start. They’re not like adults who can express outright what they feel, need, or want.

Even more noteworthy is the fact that, for various reasons, most children get along with whomever they find pleasant and reject whoever they feel is not a real friend to them. You’ve probably seen this with the other kids you’ve interacted with. Try imposing anything on them, and they’ll most likely throw a tantrum chaotic enough to make you regret your actions.

As such, when it comes to choosing a doctor for your kids, you need to strike a balance between a number of factors. The aim is to provide your kids with quality health care without compromising their social needs.

Here are the top 10 considerations when choosing a pediatrician.

  1. Training, Certification, And Specialization Of The Doctor

Reports of poorly trained doctors jeopardizing the health of patients isn’t news anymore. While it’s trivial to go as far as inquiring about the school a doctor received their training from, it’s important to make sure that they’re certified for private practice. 

Don’t rush to make a contract with a fresh graduate just because of their youthful vigor. Once they leave school, graduate doctors are usually required to work under the supervision of seasoned doctors before they’re given the power to handle patients on their own. It’s during this time that they get hands-on experience to fortify the theoretical concepts they’ve learned in class.

The certification in question depends on the country or state the doctor operates in. It pays to know the specifics in your area of residence. For instance, in the US, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) should be your first port of call. 

‘Is there an ABMS-certified doctor near me?’ you wonder. Fortunately, that information isn’t difficult to come by. Once you’ve shortlisted a doctor for further scrutiny, enter their first name, last name, state, and specialty on the Certification Matters website, and you’ll get the answer right away.

In addition to certification, specialization matters as well. There’s no reason to pair up with an optometrist to handle your child’s general health concerns. Of course, you may need an optometrist if your child develops eye problems. But before you turn to that kind of professional, the best option is a pediatrician. They specialize in the care of children aged zero to 18 years. 

If you can’t find a pediatrician, consider going for a family practitioner. They’re trained to take care of the whole family, including children, teens, adults, and seniors.

  1. Affordability

Cheap is expensive—there’s some truth in this statement—goods and services with unbelievably low prices are often associated with poor quality. However, that doesn’t mean you should spend your hard-earned cash on costly services.

If you’re an A-list Hollywood actor, no one will stop you from going for USD$300-per-hour doctors. But if you’re a middle-income earner, try to find a perfect balance between the quality of services and the fees charged for them. This is popularly referred to as getting the best value for money.

You wouldn’t want to drain your wallet on doctors’ fees alone. Remember: you have other things to spend on. It’s advisable to properly budget your income according to all your family expenses so as to have a clear picture of how much money you can spend on the health and well-being of your children. In case your kids have special medical needs, you may have to set aside a significant amount of money for their treatment.

  1. Location Of The Doctor’s Clinic

Some parents prefer a clinic that’s only within a short walking distance from their home so they can easily access medical services whenever the need arises. Others prefer it that way in order to save time during clinical visits. There are also those who don’t mind that their kids’ clinic is a bit far from their home since they enjoy the ‘trip to the clinic.’ So, what’s your preference?

Make sure to choose a doctor whose clinic is at a convenient location for you and your kids. If you have a reliable personal car, consider choosing a clinic that’s less than an hour’s drive from your home.

If you use public transport, how convenient is it? Is the route busy enough that you can quickly get a vehicle to the clinic regardless of the time of day? If you’ve experienced overly long commutes due to wait times and traffic jams, know that the same situation may occur when your kids fall sick.

Aside from looking into commuting issues, see to it that the clinic is in a secure part of town. There’s no denying that some downtown streets generally feel unsafe, and in most cases, that assumption turns out to be true.

  1. The Doctor’s Demeanor And Communication Skills

As previously mentioned, your kids need a doctor they can easily connect with. The trip to the clinic doesn’t have to be a harrowing experience for them. 

Consider two doctors, A and B. Upon getting an injection from Dr. A, your kid immediately screams and scampers for safety. But when Dr. B does the same thing, your child smiles as though nothing happened. What magic does Dr. B possess?

You may have come across people who appear to have their own way with kids. No matter how difficult some children may be, those individuals can interact with them in a manner that’s fun and captivating.

Go for such a doctor if you can. Doing so will be beneficial not only to your kids but also to you. Chances are that the doctor will have good communication skills. You’ll feel at ease telling them what your kid is going through. That’s usually what’s needed in your child’s upbringing—a problem shared is a problem half-solved.

  1. The Reception Staff In The Doctor’s Clinic

In line with the doctor’s demeanor and communication skills, you may also want to make sure that the people around your kids are just as friendly. If the clinic serves a large number of patients, you may spend less time with the doctor than you do with the reception staff.

These are the people who act as a bridge between you and the doctor. You book medical appointments with their help. They’re the first ones you meet once you get to the clinic. Your payments go through them as well. In some instances, they receive your questions before the doctor can. As such, it’s only safe to have the assurance that you can get along well with them. 

In your search for the best doctor for your kids, conduct a brief survey in every clinic you shortlist. Confidently walk into the establishment and pay close attention to how the reception staff greets you and how willing they are to help you.

How does the waiting area look like? Do you feel comfortable, or is there an air of uncertainty hovering over you throughout your stay? How long do they keep you waiting? How do they respond to your inquiries? How do they release you after you’re done with the survey? If you end up enjoying the experience, you’ll most likely feel the same way every time you visit the clinic in the coming years.

  1. Availability Of Telehealth Services

The best place for kids to receive medical care is undoubtedly the doctor’s clinic or office. However, there are some instances where your kids may need help yet circumstances don’t allow them to travel. Take the example of what happened during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Traveling was greatly restricted to help contain the virus.

In such instances, telehealth is a great option to have. This involves the use of interactive audio and video tools for communication between the doctor, the parents, and the kids. You’ll need a functional electronic device like a tablet or laptop and compatible software to facilitate communication.

Telehealth also comes in handy in case you live in a remote area. You may not be able to travel every other day with your kids to go to the clinic due to time and financial constraints. In that case, it would be better to request telehealth services and hold sessions with the doctor in the comfort of your home.

  1. Range Of Medical Equipment Present In The Doctor’s Clinic

You wouldn’t want your kids to be tested using outdated tools that may yield inaccurate results and cause even more health problems. If possible, confirm the model, status, and age of the equipment your kids’ potential doctor uses in their clinic. Here are some of the medical tools you may check:

  • Blood pressure kits
  • Catheter wraps
  • Exam tables
  • Pediatric stirrups
  • Otoscopes
  • Pacemaker monitors
  • Hospital beds
  • Blood glucose monitors
  • Continuous passive motion devices
  • Muscle stimulators
  • Oxygen tents
  • Ventilators 

Although it seems overwhelming, rest assured it won’t be that difficult to differentiate between a well-equipped clinic and an ill-equipped one.

  1. Hours Of Operation

Until today, there are clinics that don’t operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Choosing a 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. clinic may have significant implications. First and foremost, if you’re a full-time employee, you’ll have to request some time away from work to attend to your kids’ health needs. This may not always be possible, considering the pressure that usually comes with employment. 

If you’re your own boss, the hours of operation may not be a problem for you. Freelancers and business owners often have the freedom to do what they want any time of the day or night. 

However, you may find it inconvenient if your child needs urgent attention yet your clinic of choice is closed. No parent knows when their kids will come down with something. It may be in the middle of the night, in the wee hours of the morning, or right at the peak of your working shift. Therefore, choose a doctor you can visit without having to change your entire schedule for the day. 

  1. What Other People Say About The Doctor

A doctor’s reputation is crucial for you to know. You’d be rather unmindful of your children’s well-being if you opt for a doctor who’s about to be de-registered due to gross medical malpractice. For your and your kids’ safety, listen to the testimony of others regarding their experience with the same doctor.

You’re definitely not the first one to request the doctor’s services. Speak with those who went before you about how they got along with the doctor. If the doctor has a website, you’re likely to find reviews there and on other digital platforms. In the absence of online testimonials, ask for feedback from family and friends. Think twice when you hear nothing but complaints about a given doctor.

  1. Whether The Doctor’s Clinic Accepts Your Insurance

Last but not least, confirm whether the doctor’s clinic allows part of your medical bills to be footed by a private insurance company or public health programs. It’d be a big blow to you if you saved for years with insurers only to be told to shell out large sums of money from your own pocket. Likewise, check with the doctor the range of in-patient and out-patient services eligible for payment by insurance companies. 

Taking All Into Account

It’s important to choose the best doctor you possibly can for your kids so they grow in good health and get to enjoy their childhood. Their foundation years determine what they’ll be like for the rest of their lives—taking a chance within that period is out of the question. By considering the above-mentioned factors, you’ll be able to settle on a doctor that you and your kids will forever trust and cherish. 

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