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How to Choose Your Pediatrician

Looking for a pediatrician? Follow these steps to find the right provider for you and yours.

As an expecting parent, the decisions you make a lasting impact for the rest of your child’s life. You’ll have a long-term relationship, so finding the right pediatrician is one of those important decisions.

What is a pediatrician?

A pediatrician is a medical doctor that specializes in the development, care and diseases of infants, children and adolescents. Many pediatricians also have a special area of interest within their practice.

When should I select a pediatrician?

Many families select a pediatrician between 25 and 35 weeks, and others identify their pediatrician at the hospital when they go into labor. “There’s no wrong answer; choose a pediatrician when it feels right for your family,” says Sarah Holland, DO, Pediatrics & Primary Care physician at The Iowa Clinic's Waukee – Alice’s Road location

How do I know a pediatrician is right for my family?

With dozens of pediatricians in the Des Moines area, how do you choose the best doctor for your family? Do your homework! There are many things to take into consideration — location, recommendations, insurance network — but ultimately, you want someone you feel comfortable with and trust to visit in your times of need for years to come. You might not find the right fit immediately, and it’s okay to test the waters and keep looking for someone who feels like the right match for your family.

Toddler and pediatrician

7 Tips for Finding a Physician

A pediatrician is the hub of your child’s healthcare so it's critical to have one who is well-connected to your local medical community and has a broad understanding of care options for your child.

These seven tips can help you start a search from scratch and reach an informed decision:

1. Talk to your friends, family and neighbors. 

Get recommendations from the people you know and trust. If they have great relationships with their providers, chances are, you will like them too. Some good referrals can quickly narrow down your list.

2. Get a recommendation from your healthcare provider.

Your OB/GYN can offer suggestions or recommendations for pediatricians. Your primary care physician could also be a great resource.

3. Read physician profiles, online rankings and reviews.

New providers come to the metro every year and your network will not have experiences with everyone. Head to clinic websites and trusted review sites to learn more about the doctors on your shortlist. Look at their credentials, board certifications, clinical interests, admitting hospitals and biography. Gain more insight by reading other people’s experiences with each provider.

4. Locate your nearest hospitals and clinics. 

Location is a factor, but it shouldn’t be the most important one. Babies see their pediatrician a number of times during the first year of life, so you’ll want to make sure the office is conveniently located to fit your family's needs and schedule.

5. Check your insurance network.

Contact your insurance company for a complete list of providers in and out of your network to make sure your top choices are covered. You may find yourself at the clinic for other health issues, and the cost of your care may vary depending on if a provider is considered in-network or out-of-network.

Pediatrician gives a young girl a shot

Meet Our Pediatricians

Expert, kid-friendly care across the Des Moines metro area.

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6. Determine whether the pediatricians rounds in your hospital. 

As you speak with different pediatricians, ask whether they’ll complete your baby’s first checkup at the hospital. “When you select a pediatrician from our clinic, the pediatrician who is on call will examine your new baby and meet with the parents in the hospital daily,” says Adam Secory, DO, Pediatrics & Primary Care physician at The Iowa Clinic's Waukee Alice's Road location. “We also work with the parents to set up the newborn’s first appointment after the birth in our clinic after discharge from the hospital.”

7. Schedule an office visit.

Once you feel more comfortable or have identified a few potential pediatricians, schedule some time to visit the clinic and chat “A face-to-face meeting is sometimes the only way to establish trust and truly feel comfortable with someone” says Dr. Holland. “And by visiting the clinic, you’ll also get a feel for the environment, staff and the rest of the healthcare team. This is a great service we offer free of charge.”

Prepare questions to ask your prospective doctor.

After you’ve scheduled visits with your potential family physician or pediatrician, do a little prep work to make the most of your time with them. Of course you want to make sure they are friendly and make you feel comfortable. But you should use this time to get additional information specific to your family’s healthcare needs, especially if you or someone in your family has a chronic condition.

Ask all prospective family physicians and pediatricians these questions:

  1. What are your office hours?
  2. How long is the typical wait for an appointment?
  3. Does this practice use a team-based approach for coverage when you’re unavailable?
  4. Which other providers work in this clinic?
  5. How do you communicate with patients?
  6. What other common services or lab tests can be done in this location?
  7. Do you or clinic staff handle health-related questions during or after office hours?
  8. Who handles a healthcare emergency for me or my family?
  9. What are your referral policies?
  10. What are your payment policies?

Choose the best doctor for you and your family.

Finding a family physician or pediatrician that checks all the boxes is a personal choice. Even if you’ve got a great recommendation from a friend, your preferences and your family’s needs are different.

A pediatrician will be your point person for the health and wellness of your child for years. Over time, you’ll develop a deeper relationship and comfort with your provider, and they will gain a deeper understanding of your family’s medical history to serve as your health resource and advocate.

Meet the Waukee Alice's Road Pediatricians

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