Finding the Right Pediatrician

Whether expecting their first child or a switch in insurance companies, many parents ask what they should look for in a pediatrician. "First I recommend parents look at their insurance plans and check that your potential pediatricians are in good professional standing with local hospitals and local and state medical societies," said Dr. Daniel Nale, a pediatrician affiliated with Children’s Medical Center of Dallas. "Keep an eye out for any reprimands, suspensions or lack of affiliations at all. These indicators could steer you away from pediatricians who are not operating under recommended local, state and national standards."

"Next, I recommend parents decide what they expect from their pediatrician," said Nale. "Think about the type of relationship you expect to have and outline some ideas of where you stand on topics such as ADD, discipline methods, vaccines and alternative therapies."

The third step is to ask around for recommendations from friends, neighbors, school personnel and your own doctor. "Show the list of doctors in your insurance plan to the people you approach and ask them who they would recommend," he said. "State your expectations and ask how the referring source feels they would match up with the doctor."

Finally, take the time to interview your doctor, if possible. Ask questions to make sure the pediatrician is keeping up with current recommendations in pediatric medicine. A good resource for comparisons is the American Academy of Pediatrics. "Even though schedules are busy and this extra step takes time, some parents will feel more at ease if they can develop a relationship with their pediatrician before the first exam," Nale said. "The key is to feel comfortable and confident in your pediatrician. After all, you will work as a team to make sure your children thrive."