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: September 2014
Current Authors and Reviewers (click on name for bio):
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.
Authoring history
(Limited detail is available on authoring dates before 2014.)
AAuthor; CAContributing Author; SASenior Author; RReviewer