Where Can I Find Top Pediatricians in My Area?
“Top pediatricians in my area” is a search phrase that virtually every new parent or family that has moved to a new city types into their search engine. It’s no wonder. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends children have 13 well-visits by their third birthday. Besides routine checkups, babies, toddlers and preschoolers get a cold an average of seven times a year; school-age children have about six colds a year; and teenagers average around four colds per year. Add in two to the average three gastrointestinal issues a year and you can see why it’s so important to find a good pediatrician near you.
When it comes to finding a top pediatrician, location matters. It’s best to find a pediatrician in your area because you may have to have to deal with taking time from work, navigating traffic, and non-emergency urgent issues. No one wants to take off hours from work or leave other children at home with a caregiver while they drive across town to see a provider.
But finding a top pediatrician in your area doesn’t have to mean carving out half a day from door to door to get your child seen by a provider. Read on to learn of increasingly popular options that all but eliminate the need to leave your home at all to see an excellent provider.
What’s the Difference between a Family Doctor and a Pediatrician?
Before we move on to options in finding top pediatricians in your area, it’s important to clarify a key difference between types of providers. Some people give up entirely on finding a top pediatrician in their area. It’s not always easy to find a separate provider that takes your insurance and is still accepting new patients - and is close to home. It’s a lot to ask, prompting some parents to seek alternatives like a family doctor.
WebMD offers a helpful side-by-side comparison. For instance, pediatricians must attend four years of medical school and spend three years as medical residents specifically focused on pediatrics. They must take an exam from the American Board of Pediatrics every seven years to retain their certification and stay apprised of the latest children’s health information.
A family doctor, on the other hand, completes their residency in a variety of specialty fields that include a stint in pediatrics along with gynecology and internal medicine. Their certification means they can treat people of all ages and they must also take their exam on a regular basis.
As you can see, the length of time a pediatrician and a family doctor spends in medical school is the same, but where they allocate that time differs. On average, family doctors say they spend only 10% of their time working with children. Because pediatricians dedicate their entire careers understanding, studying and working with children, they often have the bedside manner and focused education geared specifically towards children and their unique needs.
What Are My Options When Looking for Pediatricians in My Area?
You have options when it comes to how your child is seen by a pediatrician. In-office visits are the traditional way, but with the emergence of COVID-19, increasingly more parents and caregivers are considering providers who offer in-home visits.
The CDC and many local governments are advising people to avoid close contact with others and stay home as much as possible while COVID still poses a risk. Making sure your child sees a provider is important, but that doesn’t mean they have to go to a crowded waiting room or an exam room where a sick caregiver, child or staff may have just been. Keeping your child at home and having the provider come to you makes much more sense and more providers are offering pediatric house calls and telemedicine services to fill that need.
There has been a rise in the number of providers that provide at least some pediatric house call appointments along with their in-office appointments. Even more recently, you can find concierge pediatricians in Austin and other areas who offer nothing but home visits and telemedicine appointments, making adhering to stay-at-home recommendations and finding a top pediatrician in your area much easier. For providers, flexibility and more time they can spend with patients are often their primary drivers. For parents, convenience, greater access to their provider, and more time with their provider top their list of reasons to go with a concierge pediatrician, however, reducing the stress of getting their kids to the doctor and the anxiety it can create in their children can be just as important.
Fear of the doctor is real. Science Daily reported on a study by C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health at the University of Michigan found as many as half of children are afraid of going to the doctor. Those fears can translate to a challenging appointment for everyone. The report said, “If a child fears the doctor’s office, health visits can be a challenging experience for the whole family. We found that children’s anxiety can negatively impact parents’ interactions with providers during visits and even causes a small proportion of families to postpone on cancel appointments.”
In-home visits often take away much of the stress because your child can stay in the comfort of their own home during the visit. They aren’t having to listen to screaming children getting their shots in the next exam room or wait for long periods of time in a closed-off room with nothing comforting of their own. Instead, your child can stay in bed, play with their own toys or do whatever they want without worrying about when the provider will walk in. Plus, because they spend more quality time with their provider, they often develop a more trusting, stronger relationship with them that makes the pediatrician appear much less scary.
Concierge pediatricians and providers offer in-home visits and telemedicine visits only, ensuring you have personal access to virtual care via video visits and chat around the clock. If an in-home visit isn’t required, a telemedicine appointment can be even more convenient for your family.
What Should I Ask Concierge Pediatricians?
When researching top pediatricians in your area, be sure to ask whether the concierge pediatrician accepts health insurance, if they offer visits in your area, and what services they provide, both in terms of in-home and virtual appointments and what types of care they offer during those appointments. You may also want to ask them how quickly you can get an in-home or telemedicine appointment, as well as how quickly they and their team responds to calls and texts, if texting is available.
Finding a top pediatrician in your area is easier than you probably thought and comes with so many benefits for you and your family. Get out of traffic and the waiting room and have peace of mind your child is receiving excellent pediatric care from the comfort of your own home.