Choosing a Pediatrician Should Be Like Choosing an Employee, Shouldn't It?

by Matthew Stollak on Thursday, February 21, 2013

So, my wife and I are expecting twins in the next couple of months.  Anxious times.

Of the hundreds of decisions that we are making, one is the choice of the pediatrician taking care of our children.  Choosing one shouldn't be any different than choosing an employee, right?  All, I assume, meet the basic qualifications of the position - knowledge, education, abilities, etc, or they wouldn't be already hired and hanging out their shingle.  So, it comes down to word-of-mouth referrals, and the interview.

We are going through a series of "meet and greets" to find the "right" one, much like a manager would interview a potential applicant.   We went through our first one yesterday.  Questions were posed, such as:

"How many years have you been at this clinic?"
"How many children have you served?"
"What's your perspective on medicating kids with behavioral problems?"
"Have you rejected any patients?"
"Have any patients rejected you?"
"At what age do you stop seeing the patient?"

For the most part, I tend to take a distant view of my health care employees.  They have the proper certification, education, knowledge, skills, and abilities, and are still employed.  In terms of cost, if they are in network, what's the difference?  One doctor is as good as the next.  So, the interview process really is a search for some piece of negative information that would turn us away.  For my wife, it does come down to "fit;" does the pediatrician make her feel "comfortable," and does he/she come across as a "know-it-all."

So, parents in the know....what am I missing?


Very true! I can still remember the very first doctor's appointment. I hadn't met the pediatrician previously, though he was recommended my my wife's sister. He made them cry when he tested their hip flexibility, and I almost came apart. He's been fantastic, though, and we love him to death. Wouldn't trade the guy for anyone!

He is always willing to answer questions and help me understand the "why" behind his diagnosis. If they have a servant's heart and will help you understand, that's worth ten of any "do what I tell you because I said so" people. Kinda like work, eh?

by Ben Eubanks on February 21, 2013 at 8:07 AM. #

We did it the old school way - before crowdsourcing and sites like Angie's List - asked older relatives who they used and visited a few of their kids' doctors. We chose one of them who was really highly recommended by our relative and also was really down to earth. He's a good blend of old school and modern - uses a typewriter to write notes on the charts, but then checks prescriptions and possible conflicts on an iPhone App.

by Steve Boese on February 21, 2013 at 8:30 AM. #

Congrats, Matt. You are already on the journey of being an awesome dad.
So, one doctor is not as good as the next. I would highly recommend my pediatrician sister, but you would have to move to Cleveland.
I say that if you are comfortable with the fundamentals, choose for fit. Remember that this is an at-will relationship. If you don't think the doc meets your needs, you hire a different one. Hopefully, you will not spend much time with them outside of well-baby visits.

by Tim Gardner on February 21, 2013 at 3:12 PM. #

All - thanks for the tips.

by Matthew Stollak on February 21, 2013 at 9:20 PM. #

Great post, Matt! I can definitely see the parallels here that are important to learn from. When we were looking for pediatricians in Columbia, MD for our first child, it was a lengthy process to find the right one that would fit our needs. It's critical to go through a set of qualifications in order to make the best choice -- just like you would when seeking a new hire.

by John Lucas on April 29, 2013 at 4:29 PM. #

Thanks for sharing. Helpful post regarding how to select a pediatrician. Keep up the great work.

by Pediatrician Pawling NY on July 8, 2013 at 9:02 AM. #

In finding the perfect pediatrician for our kids, we should be curious enough on how they have been keeping tabs on his/her patients. It is much better to have a great personal relationship with them.

by doctor carolyn ashworth on July 25, 2013 at 6:07 PM. #

Being very comfortable with your pediatrician is key. Thanks for sharing this information.

by Westchester NY Pediatric Services on September 10, 2015 at 12:11 PM. #

I like the idea of comparing choosing a pediatrician to hiring an employee. Good post.

by Pediatrician in Westchester NY on April 20, 2016 at 1:40 PM. #

Choosing a pediatrician is surprisingly similar to hiring a new employee. Nice post.

by Westchester NY Pediatrics on June 15, 2016 at 3:31 PM. #

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