We live in a busy world – sometimes insanely so.
Parents like you are busy whether they work outside the home or spend time running kids around.
Physicians are busy, too – asked to see more and more patients and complete tasks to complement direct patient care, such as entering data into electronic health records, completing forms, addressing phone questions and more.
Still and all, you should expect your child’s physician to monitor his or her health, growth and development. The physician also should explain what to expect as your child grows, diagnose and treat minor and routine illnesses, and collaborate with children’s hospitals and pediatric specialists should your child experience more complicated problems.
Because of all this, developing a good relationship with your child’s doctor remains imperative, to get the best value from your time together during visits. In that light, consider these tips for your next pediatric visit:
- Be informed, but respect your doctor’s expertise and time. Although the internet brims with information and you want to know what to trust, your doctor won’t have time to evaluate every article, advocacy group or resource. As doctors, we direct patients to reliable resources such as Mercy.net or KidsHealth, offered by The Nemours Foundation’s Center for Children’s Health Media.
- Be focused during the visit. Turn off your cellphone, try to leave siblings with someone during the visit and concentrate on the reason for a particular visit.
- When the visit concludes, be sure you understood all that was said, any medications or tests prescribed, and any follow-up expected of you. Mercy Clinic physicians and some others always give a written after-visit summary. Read any written instructions.
- For complicated issues like behavioral or school-related concerns, try to have your spouse accompany you on the visit. A challenge? Certainly. Having both parents present, though, truly facilitates communication and understanding.
- For routine and nonurgent questions or issues, use good judgment and rely on other clinicians such as nurse practitioners and nurses when possible. Embrace all means of communication with your child’s physician and his or her office such as online patient portals like MyMercy.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions, and don’t fear offering feedback about your experience with your child’s physician and office co-workers. Good physicians and practices want to know they’ve met your needs and how they can work better with you to do so.
For more information, visit mercy.net/laduenews.
Dr. Joseph Kahn is president of Mercy Kids (mercykids.org), an expansive network of pediatric care dedicated to meeting the needs of every child, every day.