Whether you’re about to be a new parent or have a home full of children, you want to know you have the best pediatrician in Austin looking after them. Finding the best pediatrician isn’t easy, is it? Austin is growing by leaps and bounds, and there are so many pediatricians in the city.
The good news is you are fortunate to have such great healthcare options here. Sometimes, however, having more options only makes it harder to decide which one to choose. It’s okay. We’ve got you covered. Just follow the six steps below and you’ll have peace of mind you did everything you needed to do to choose the best pediatrician for your family.
You Have Options
Austin is a relatively young city, which means it is full of pediatricians. But you don’t want just any pediatrician; you want the best pediatrician in Austin, right? If you’re new to Austin, a new parent, or ready to find a new pediatrician, there’s nothing to fear about finding the right one. Just follow these steps and you’ll be able to cross this one off your list in no time.
1. Think about What’s Important to You
One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to a pediatrician. Make a list of the things you want in a pediatrician, their staff and their operations. For instance, do you care that they offer telemedicine for virtual appointments and after-hours availability? With COVID-19, these services have become increasingly popular. Prioritize your list and determine your “deal breakers” - those services and capabilities you can’t live without.
Related: Staying Up to Date with Pediatric Care During a Pandemic
If you’re a soon-to-be parent and aren’t sure of what types of services should matter, again, ask your friends who have more experience. You can also look ahead to step 4 below where you can see some of the more innovative services and capabilities you should consider.
2. Ask Around
If you have a circle of other Austin parents you can reach out to, now is the time to get their suggestions. This is the first step in finding out who other parents believe is the best pediatrician in Austin. By asking friends, neighbors, co-workers, parents in any of the organizations you are part of, etc., you can get a good head start.
Even if you’re a new Austin transplant and don’t have many people to ask, consider reaching out on social media. From Facebook and Instagram to your neighborhood apps like Next Door, ask fellow parents for their recommendations for Austin pediatricians. See if you can identify a trend - are there a few doctors that people keep mentioning?
Keep in mind that you’re looking for pediatricians to avoid as much as to consider. Some parents may tell you they aren’t happy where they are for specific reasons. While you should make your own decisions on what you want in a pediatrician, other people may bring up issues that matter to you as well, such as long wait times and no telemedicine appointments.
Don’t be afraid of digging deeper to find out why people do or don’t recommend their pediatrician. Most people are more than happy to share their experiences and give you a better understanding of what you could expect if you chose their pediatrician.
3. Do Your Research
We live in a world that’s now governed by reviews, likes and shares, even for doctors. Few of us buy anything without checking out a review first. In fact, 89% of people consider reviews before they make a decision.
Now is the time to put your research skills to good use. Based on the names you were given in step one that you’re interested in researching, check out patient reviews, look up education and experience background and their hospital affiliations, which insurance (if any) they accept, where they’re located, or their service areas if they offer in-home visits.
You should be able to cross some names off of your list at this point. This doesn’t mean they are bad doctors. They just aren’t particularly right for you and your child.
4. Compare Offerings
With fewer doctors to review, now comes the fun part: looking at what the remaining Austin pediatricians on your list offer.
Related: What to Look for in Your Austin Pediatrician
Your friends could talk all day about how their pediatrician can have an incredible bedside manner, but if they don’t provide the services and capabilities you deem valuable, you will likely become frustrated. For instance, does the pediatrician offer in-home visits so you don’t have to expose your child to other sick children or bring them into an office when they feel terrible?
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential pediatricians, check to see whether they provide some or all of these more differentiating offerings:
- 24/7 availability via virtual care, such as text messaging with your doctor and the ability to send pictures and videos and virtual visits
- In-home care for the ultimate convenience and comfort
- Evidence-based medical care to give you confidence decisions are backed with data
- Excellent communication and a focus on education to help you understand diagnosis, treatment plan, medications, recovery expectations, etc.
- Supplemental educational material, such as virtual classes on newborn care, breastfeeding, growth and behavioral milestones, etc.
Few doctors offer the 24/7 availability without having to go through a portal or nurses first. The best pediatricians in Austin, however, understand that providing their clients with direct access to them personally is extremely helpful and comforting. Being able to text your doctor or set up a telemedicine visit is not only convenient, but it also gives you the ability to ask your pediatrician questions and send pictures or videos to help them decide whether it’s safe to stay home during an illness or injury or you should take your child to an emergency department.
Similarly, in-home visits are a huge benefit for parents and increasingly more doctors are offering house calls, including pediatricians in Austin.
5. Check Your Insurance
There’s one thing any parent will tell you: kids get sick and injured. A lot. It just comes with the territory. If you have health insurance, check to see if your doctor accepts it and if there are any additional fees you have to pay.
If a pediatrician charges an annual fee (and increasingly more do), don’t immediately check them off your list. The best pediatricians in Austin offer services and capabilities many other doctors don’t and those cost more. Paying an additional $100 per year, for example, is often well worth the additional value-added services you’ll receive.
6. Make an Introductory Appointment
Once you’ve narrowed your list down to two or three pediatricians, make a “get-to-know-you” appointment with each one. You need to meet your potential pediatrician in person or via a telemedicine appointment to ask questions about their approach and practice, assess their bedside manner, and discuss any special considerations you may have for your child.
Make a list of your questions and ask each doctor the same ones so you can have an apples-to-apples comparison. Don’t feel weird about asking for these appointments. Pediatricians are used to parents shopping around. They understand that your child is your number one priority and your goal is to find the best pediatrician in Austin.
Congratulations! You can feel good about who you chose because you know you’ve completed all of the steps above. In a sense, your pediatrician will become part of your family - one who will be with you from your child’s first days until they become adults. It’s a long-term relationship so it’s worth taking the time now to find a doctor you and your child will love.