Where to begin when searching for a pediatrician

Sometimes, the search for a pediatrician starts and ends with the preferred provider list offered by your health insurance company. Yet with health care issues more complex–such as vaccination questions and concerns about potential H1N1 outbreaks– you need a good working relationship with your child’s doctor. If you’re looking for a new pediatrician, or if you’re just curious about your current one, there’s plenty of ways to find out more about him or her.


Ask tough questions

If you’re looking for a new pediatrician, ask your friends for referral. But once you’ve gotten past, “So, who’s your child’s pediatrician?” go further with your questions. Don’t be shy asking about the doctor’s bedside manner, waiting times in the office and whether the front staff is friendly or not. Ask the kinds of questions you can’t find doing a Google search or by simply calling the office.

Search for a local pediatrician using New York State Physician Profile website (nydoctorprofile.com), find vital information to help choose a doctor.

Now see Mom's doctor reviews online

Review education and training

Want to know where the recommended doctor, or your current pediatrician, attended medical school or did their residency? Did he or she have any additional training? Most physicians will include this information on their practice’s website. But not all practices maintain websites with the most up-to-date information, so you should consider other resources too.

Keep in mind that doctors receive several levels of training. First, they attend an undergraduate school followed by four years of medical school and then several years in residency at a teaching hospital. After residency they can begin practicing on their own or receive additional training, called a fellowship.

Along with their formal training, physicians need to pass certification exams in the state where they practice (although certification in one state usually carries over to another). Physicians can also receive additional training and certification in medical specialties from the American Board of Medical Specialists (ABMS). For example, a physician may receive additional training and certification in sleep medicine, developmental-behavioral pediatrics or a number of other specialties. This additional training is not required in order to become a pediatrician, but indicates that the physician has thorough knowledge and training in that area.


Kristen J. Gough writes frequently about parenting topics when she’s not playing with her three daughters. You can read more at her blog, readymom.blogspot.com.