If at all possible, bring your child along so you can see how the doc and the staff interact with her. Arrive early so you can do some stealth detective work. Look around.
- Is the waiting room empty or chock-full of parents and sick, crabby kids? Neither is a great sign -- unless you’re visiting at seven a.m. or plunk in the middle of cold and flu season.
- Is the place clean? (Don’t forget to check the restroom; grime there is a big warning sign.)
- Is the office staff polite and friendly or surly and dismissive? Did they make you and your little one feel welcome?
- Does the office appear organized, or does it look like they use pitchforks to stack the file folders?
- Is the waiting area kid-friendly, with dancing-bear wall decals and lots of books, toys, and games? Or is it as bleak as a police precinct?
- Do the toys look clean and in good shape, or are they grimy and shabby?
- Can you see yourself coming here with your child?
Chat up the other parents and ask if they’re happy with the pediatrician; if it’s a group practice, ask which docs they do and don’t like. Are the waits long? (Half an hour should be the longest.) Is getting a return call from the pediatrician difficult? Is the staff helpful when there’s an insurance snafu?
From The Smart Parent's Guide: Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses, and Accidents by Jennifer Trachtenberg.
Find out more about this book:The Smart Parent's Guide: Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses, and Accidents