Choosing a Primary Care Clinician

Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Primary Care Clinician (Pediatrician / Family Physician)

Personal Preferences - Questions to ask yourself first
  • Do you prefer a clinician whose communication style is friendly and warm, or more formal?
  • Do you prefer a clinician focused on disease treatment, or wellness and prevention?
Objective Questions for Clinic Front Desk Personnel
A. Practices and Policies
  • Does the practice use email?
  • Does the practice have a care coordinator, case manager or social worker?
  • Does the practice have a parent partner or provide parent to parent support?
  • Will my main doctor see me after hours or during hospitalizations or will I be referred to a new doctor on call?
  • Does the practice have a social worker or ask about mental health?
  • Does the practice follow the Medical Home Model?
B. Financial
  • Does the practice assist with submitting to insurance?
  • If out of state or city, can you recommend lodging or do you have a discount plan with a nearby lodging establishment?
Questions for Clinician, Care Coordinator, and/or Parent Partner
A. Practices and Policies
  • If my child should ever develop a complex illness that necessitates the care of one or more specialists, will the clinician coordinate care among all the doctors and providers?
  • Does the clinician have a conservative or aggressive approach to treatment?
  • Does the clinician order a lot of tests?
  • Does the clinician refer to other specialists frequently or infrequently?
  • Does the practice have experience helping tube-dependent children wean from a feeding tube?
B. Financial
  • What managed-care programs does the clinician participate in?
  • Can I submit a claim for payment if my provider doesn’t?
Subjective Questions for All Parties Above
  • How easy is it to get in touch with the doctor and nurses?
  • Is the office staff friendly and helpful?
  • Do you take parents’ information about the child into consideration?

Authors & Reviewers

Initial publication: August 2014; last update/revision: September 2014
Current Authors and Reviewers:
Funding: Thanks to the 2013-14 Portal Utah Regional Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (URLEND) Trainee group for their effort on this project.