How did your last pediatrician’s appointment go? Did you remember to ask all of your questions? Or did you feel like your doctor rushed you through your appointment? Research shows that the average doctor only has about 10-15 minutes to spend with each patient. For more personalized care, check out these tips to maximum your time with your child’s pediatrician visit:
Bring your list of questions.
Do your homework and bring a list of questions, starting with the most important ones. Don’t be shy about checking your list or taking notes. Some apps, including Baby Bundle, will offer recommended questions if you’re feeling stumped. And trust me when I say that your doctor will be impressed that you came prepared.
Bring articles or other information to discuss.
If you’ve found something concerning or of interest in the recent headlines, cut or print it out and bring it with you. If it’s a longer read and you want your doctor to review ahead of time, e-mail or drop it off in advance so that he will be ready to discuss at your visit.
RELATED: How to Pick a Pediatrician
Be specific when describing an illness.
Write down what the symptoms are and when each one started. The pattern can make it easier for your doctor to diagnose problems. If your child is taking any medications, bring those along. That includes vitamins, herbals and over-the-counter remedies.
Focus during your visit.
Don’t answer your cell phone, and if possible, leave siblings at home or with a sitter. If not possible, bring toys, books or snacks to keep them busy. You want the doctor’s attention, and they want yours.
Arrive on time, or even early. Your doctor doesn’t want to keep anyone waiting, but if half of their patients arrive late, you can see why they might run late too.
Ask for an explanation.
If you don’t understand what the doctor is saying, ask her to explain it again in simpler terms.
Call if you forget instructions or don’t hear back regarding a lab test.
Don’t forget to follow up. If you get home and think, “What was that tip about using the inhaler?”, call or e-mail to be sure. It doesn’t hurt to ask for written explanations or instructions before leaving your doctor’s office either. That way, you’ll have all of the important information in writing before you leave. Also, call about test results. No news is not necessarily good news.
Dr. Jennifer Trachtenberg (aka “Dr. Jen”) is the co-founder of Baby Bundle, a comprehensive parenting app created to simplify the first 24 months of life with a baby. It is highlighted in the Apple app store as an “Editor’s Choice” and “Best Featured App.” You can find Dr. Jen’s private practice in Manhattan, where she has been practicing for the past 18 years. She is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine; a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics; has appeared on The TODAY show, CNN and Wall Street Journal Online; and has published two parenting books, The Smart Parent’s Guide to Getting Your Kids through Check Ups, Illnesses and Accidents (2010), and Good Kids, Bad Habits (2007). She and her husband live just outside of New York City, where they are raising their three children.