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How to Change Pediatricians

Laura Moss

4. Your doctor rushes through a physical exam. “One of the great benefits to well visits is getting your child checked head to toe,” says Dr. Swanson. These days you might be able to get really detailed and accurate medical information online, but “you can’t have your child looked over head to toe on the Internet,” says Dr. Swanson. “It’s one of the really incredible and beautiful things about having a partnership with a pediatrician. We really do find things on the physical exam that we wouldn’t otherwise.” So make sure your doctor is spending a good portion of the visit actually examining your kid.

5. Your doctor is not board certified. Believe it or not, there are pediatricians practicing without board certification from the American Board of Pediatrics. Before you even make an appointment to interview a physician, go to the board’s website and use their Verification of Certification search tool to find the pediatrician you’re interested in.

One concern to leave behind: Nobody likes to wait for the doctor. But the occasional long wait, in and of itself, is not a reason to make a change. In fact, says Dr. Swanson, it can be a really good sign. “A lot of the time, I am not on time, because I am giving a child the care they need or answering the questions a parent needs to ask,” says Dr. Swanson. And that can be really hard to fit in when the medical profession forces doctors to schedule so little time for each patient. “I’m really thankful when parents are willing to wait for me, because when they need the extra time, they will get it,” says Dr. Swanson. If you find yourself waiting for long stretches at every visit, it could be a sign that it’s a poorly run clinic, says Dr. Swanson. But often a wait just means that your doctor is being thorough, and that’s what you want when it’s your time to walk through the exam room door.