Finally, and in many ways most importantly, notice the quality of your interaction with the physician. This can be more significant than the specific information imparted. You need to feel comfortable with this person, confident that she or he is genuinely interested, and encouraged that communication will flow smoothly in both directions.
After looking at this exhaustive list of questions, it is obvious that no doctor will score 100%, so prioritize your concerns and select the best candidate.
If you decide that you have found the physician who is the best fit for your family, but you look him or her up in your insurance company's handbook only to find that he or she is not listed, don't give up! Call the doctor's office and ask to speak to the person who is in charge of insurance billing. Ask him or her if the doctor you want is now accepting patients with your insurance. If the doctor is not, ask if there is any creative solution to your problem. If they can not help you in any way, ask for a list of insurances that they do accept. If you are paying directly for your insurance, you may want to consider changing companies. If you are getting insurance through your employer, take the list to your employer and find out if they currently offer any of these options. If you are looking for a pediatrician for a new baby, in many cases you will have 30 days from the baby's date of birth to make changes in your benefits. During that time you might be able to change to an insurance that the doctor you want to see accepts. If you are not looking for a pediatrician for a newborn, you may have to wait until open enrollment at your place of employment to make a switch.
Now that we have options, selecting a physician for our children or ourselves is not an easy undertaking, but the reward for our efforts can be a more meaningful physician-patient relationship has ever been possible before.
Dr. Alan Greene, author of Raising Baby Green and Feeding Baby Greene, is the founder of Dr.Greene.com and the WhiteOut Movement. He is a frequent guest on such shows as Good Morning America, The Today Show, and the Dr. Oz Show. He is on the Board of Directors of Healthy Child Healthy World and The Lunchbox Project. Dr. Greene is a practicing pediatrician at Stanford University's Packard Children's Hospital.
Copyright © Greene Ink, Inc., all rights reserved. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org. Reviewed by Khanh-Van Le-Bucklin M.D. & Rebecca Hicks M.D. April 7, 2009.