Fort Worth, Texas,
26
March
2015
|
04:18 PM
America/Chicago

Choosing a pediatrician right for you

Doc Smitty gives advice on on finding a pediatrician

How does one go about picking a pediatrician these days?

If you want to start, visit Cook Children's guide to choosing a pediatrician. Then, go check out your doctor on healthgrades.com or vitals.com or any of the other rating sites you can find. What you’ll likely find is a sampling of a small handful of raters. These sites are a sample size and can be heavily skewed by one great (if you like your pediatrician, let people know) or one terrible one. 

So, where else can you go for advice?

Friends

Ask your friends who have kids what doctors they use. This especially works well if you have friends that are similar in belief systems, medical philosophy and personality. If they like their doctor and you’re similar to them, chances are you’ll like them too. Good old fashioned word of mouth (it’s actually more commonly via Facebook or what I like to call “word of mouse") is still probably the best way to learn about the doctors in your area.

Practice websites

Practice websites are helpful in determining the practical aspects of the practice you are considering. Look at office hours and availability of care after hours via phone, etc. If having a doctor that is up to date with latest medical knowledge and technology is important to you, make sure that their website looks professional and is updated. This is also a place where you can find a little bit about the doctor’s personality (from their bio) and see their picture but these often become pretty predictable. Everyone likes to spend time with their family and has a few particular interests in pediatrics like obesity or development. They also went to medical school and residency somewhere (in case you were wondering).

Ranking websites

There are several of these out there. Some of the most popular ones are healthgrades.com and vitals.com. I like vitals.com because it allows people to leave narrative comments and not just rate with stars. Some of those comments can really give some insight into what the doctor is like. These website are not without fault-because the number of reviewers is often small, they can be skewed heavily by someone who has a negative experience (this is a good reason to go over and rate your doctor that you like).

So, how do you know if your doctor is the best?

The right question is this: How do you know if your doctor is the best for you?

I think this comes down to two basic questions:

1. Can you ask your doctor any questions without fear of judgment or feeling silly?

2. Do you trust the doctor’s answers to your questions?

If you can answer a resound YES to both of these questions, then you are in the right place. If not, you should probably be looking elsewhere.

About the author

Justin Smith, M.D., is a Cook Children's pediatrician in Lewisville . View more from The Doc Smitty at his Facebook page.He attended University of Texas, Southwestern Medical School and did his pediatric training at Baylor College of Medicine. He joins Cook Children's after practicing in his hometown of Abilene for four years. He has a particular interest in development, behavior and care for children struggling with obesity. In his spare time, he enjoys playing with his 3 young children, exercising, reading and writing about parenting and pediatric health issues.

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