Carolinas HealthCare System
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From the Doctor’s Desk: You’ve picked a name, a stroller and a nursery color. Have you picked a pediatrician?

Expectant parents have a long to do list, but many soon-to-be parents overlook a crucial item that should be at the top of their list: selecting a pediatrician.

A good pediatrician is more than a person to call when your baby has a fever. It is someone who will chart your child's development, address your concerns, and answer your questions about your child's health. And it is someone you will see regularly for sick visits and for well checkups.

Selecting someone with whom you are comfortable and who will provide your new baby with the best possible care takes time – please don’t wait until the baby is born to make this important choice.

The best place to begin looking for a pediatrician is with your obstetrician, family physician, family, friends, and colleagues. Ask them for recommendations and start gathering a list of names. After you collect a few numbers, write up some questions and call to set up interviews.

When you interview a physician, you should take into account:

  • Professional qualifications and reputation (the American Academy of Pediatrics - AAP -- will provide you with a list of board-certified pediatricians if you ask for it)
  • Health care viewpoints on various issues such as proactive/preventive medicine and nutrition
  • Office hours (weekend appointments, evenings, emergencies)
  • Doctor cross-coverage (who are the other doctors covering when your doctor is unavailable?)
  • Location – more than one office?
  • Office environment and general feel and personalities of doctors and staff
  • After hours – answering service/returned phone calls
  • Triage system – who answers your calls when you have a question? Do you speak with a nurse or directly with your doctor?
  • Health coverage issues/ HMO/PPO – how do you pay for visits?

Also ask yourself how connected is the physician to a network of care should your child need specialized treatment, or even hospitalization. Seeing a physician that is part of a larger system means that your child’s medical record will seamlessly transfer from the pediatrician to specialist to the children’s hospital.

Your child’s pediatrician will be an important partner in keeping your baby happy and healthy, right from day one.

Have I convinced you? Are you ready to take the first step toward finding a pediatrician? Then take action right now, call your doctor for a recommendation, call Carolinas HealthCare System to find a doctor at (704) 512-4363.

Don’t let this important step get away from you.

Jermeliah Martin, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician practicing at Lakemont Family and Pediatric Medicine on the campus of Carolinas HealthCare System Lincoln.