Pediatrics in Austin
If you live in or around Austin, you probably know that you have your pick of pediatricians. There is no shortage of pediatrics in Austin, which is a good thing being that Austin is consistently named one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation year after year. It may not be too difficult to find a provider, but ask any parent with a squirmy child in a waiting room what they wished for most and you’d likely hear something along the lines of “less time waiting for the pediatrician and more time with the pediatrician.”
Even with the abundance of pediatrics in Austin, you’re probably going to have to wait to see your provider. It’s just the nature of the game. In fact, data from athenahealth showed that pediatric patients waited an average of 17.1 days to see a provider.
If you’re a parent with some years of experience under your belt, you have likely become accustomed to the routine in your provider’s office. You know there will likely be a wait and you understand your pediatrician has children to see in all of the rooms around you. You take what time you can get and check it off your list.
But doctors’ visits don’t have to feel so pressured and rushed. In fact, more families are choosing a different kind of pediatrics in Austin: one that comes without waiting rooms or a stopwatch. You get as much time as you need with your child’s provider and you never had to sit in a waiting room for your turn.
Concierge Pediatrics in Austin Is Here
There’s nothing wrong with going to see your child’s pediatrician. Doctors’ offices are efficient, at least for the provider. They have everything they need right there - equipment and supplies, staff and rooms. All they ask is that you plan around them and show up on time. It’s the way we’ve been doing these visits for decades and in a perfect world, it works. But as we all know, a visit to the pediatrician isn’t always smooth or efficient, mostly because things don’t always go as planned.
People are late to appointments, triggering a cascade of delays that extend wait times and contract patient time with the provider. A doctor may have to jump on a call with a concerned parent, field questions from nurses, or spend more time than they expected with a patient. If you’re the parent of that patient, you are grateful. If you’re the one waiting in the lobby for the past 30 minutes with a cranky child, your nerves are likely on edge.
Thankfully, you have options. Concierge pediatrics is growing steam in Austin, giving parents and children the ability to meet with their pediatrician in the comfort of their own home. Instead of scheduling an office visit, traveling to and from the appointment, waiting in waiting rooms and then an exam room, seeing multiple nurses and/or medical assistants, then seeing your provider for a few minutes, you can get the care your child needs without ever leaving your home.
Concierge medicine has been growing in popularity for seniors but has recently become more mainstream for pediatrics in Austin as well. COVID-19 has been a major driver, as parents have been reluctant to go anywhere out of fear of virus exposure, especially a doctor’s office. At-home visits from a pediatrician nearly eliminate that risk and ensure children remain on their well-child visit and vaccination schedules.
But now that more parents have seen the benefits of concierge pediatrics, they may never go back to the traditional pediatrician visits.
Stay home and let the pediatrician come to you
No parent enjoys dragging their sick child to the doctor. Even worse is taking a healthy child to a well-check appointment and sitting in a waiting room full of sick children. It’s what we are used to, but it is an inefficient and risky practice.
The only thing better than being able to skip the trip to the pediatrician is having the pediatrician come directly to you. Your child’s bedroom or your living room is the “waiting room” and your child (and you) can do whatever they typically do until the doorbell rings.
Spend as much time as needed with your provider
Without other children waiting in other exam rooms for the same pediatrician, your child can spend as much time as needed for their appointment. You aren’t pressured to hurry and ask all of your questions and your provider can actually spend time with your child in ways they couldn’t in an office setting.
Keep your child’s vaccines and routine exams on track
One of the biggest concerns pediatricians have had in the past several months since COVID-19 is that children are missing the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended preventive pediatric health care appointments (well-child visits) and vaccines, which are to be administered on an age-based schedule. The CDC reports a significant reduction in the number of vaccines since the pandemic began and warn that the impact of these missed vaccines could result in many preventable diseases.
In-home pediatric visits ensure your child keeps on schedule without exposing your family to unnecessary risk. Your concierge pediatrician will perform the same well-child exam in your home as they would in an office and they bring all the required vaccines with them.
More personal relationship with the provider
It’s hard to really get to know your pediatrician and for them to know you and your family well when you are crammed into a 10-minute appointment. Add to that the fact that you may see different providers at each visit, and it’s no wonder you may never develop a real relationship with one provider. Research shows children have better outcomes when they see the same provider.
One of the most unique benefits of concierge pediatrics in Austin is that your chosen provider is able to interact with your child in their natural setting at each visit. The pediatrician can watch your child play, eat, sleep and engage with siblings over time so they can identify patterns, development milestones, and any issues. These kinds of insights into your child’s behaviors, habits and disposition are invaluable in caring for your child on a deeper level. On the other hand, because your child sees the same provider at each visit and in the comfort of their own home, the doctor becomes a familiar face in a less scary environment.
When you call a pediatrician’s office with a question, you undoubtedly go through a triage process and rarely get to speak to your actual provider. You may have to leave a message and depending on when you call and the urgency of the issue, you may wait until the next day to hear back from a nurse. This may be fine if you are in no hurry, but it can be frustrating when you aren’t sure if the spike in your child’s fever or a new rash warrants a doctor’s visit.
A concierge pediatrician, on the other hand, offers 24/7 virtual care with video visits and chats, as well as texting directly with your provider as part of your membership perks. You can get your child’s issues resolved faster so you get peace of mind sooner. If your provider determines an in-home visit is best, they can set up an appointment the same day in many cases.
Take Advantage of Pediatrics in Austin
Pediatrics in Austin will likely never completely shift to in-home visits, but concierge medicine does provide families with more options. Some pediatricians offer both in-office and in-home visits, but because these providers are often stretched thin, your best bet may be to find a concierge-only provider. They will likely have fewer patients competing for in-home appointments.
Keep in mind, fewer patients is exactly how they want it. Most providers choose the concierge model specifically to have fewer patients so they can spend more time with each patient to deliver the best care possible. Because their patients pay a monthly or annual membership fee, they can cover their relatively low overhead costs without having to see as many patients as a traditional provider in an office setting.
If you are considering pediatrics in Austin, be sure to evaluate the benefits of a concierge pediatrician. See what kinds of services they provide both in terms of visits and online resources, the costs, their typical availability, their service areas, and whether they accept insurance. Find one you can try and compare the experience with what you know you’d have with a traditional provider. Witness how your child and concierge pediatrician interact and don’t be afraid to ask the provider any questions you may have.