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Finding a primary care provider for a child is as important for most parents as finding their own primary care physician. But it's important to remember that, since many pediatricians practice in a group, the group you pick has to be as competent and well trained as your child's primary pediatrician. Here are some tips to find both the best pediatrician and the best practice for your kids.
- Look for a pediatrician with some experience. When we identify doctors for our guides, the minimum amount of experience we look at is seven years out of medical school, which means they’ve been in practice at least four years.
- Ask about the pediatrician about his or her knowledge of nutrition. You probably want one who has some expertise—many aren't well-grounded in it—so you can feel comfortable talking about your child's diet as it relates to his or her health.
- Pay attention to whether the pediatrician is really listening to your questions and concerns and giving you and your child sufficient face time. If you don’t hit it off and share compatible views, find another physician.
- Make sure the pediatrician and each member of the practice is board certified in pediatrics.
- If your child has special health needs, consider getting a pediatrician or a group with a subspecialist who has that expertise.
- Find out if your child will be examined by a physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner. If so, will you feel comfortable with that?
- Check to see who covers for your pediatrician if he or she’s not available and schedule time to meet that doctor too to ensure you're comfortable with him or her too.
John J. Connolly is president and CEO of Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. and former president of New York Medical College