Technology has offered us new ways to connect with friends and family, and it’s also providing families with another way to get to know a primary care provider. Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics and the Locust Pediatric Care Group now offer free provider interviews via telehealth.
“We know choosing the right primary care provider for a child is a big decision, but traveling and interacting with others during a pandemic isn’t ideal so this gives parents another option to get to know providers before their child’s first visit,” said Dr. Jennifer Dwyer, pediatrician at Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics, Barberton. “A virtual interview is just like in-person meetings where we discuss questions and share stories but with the added convenience of doing it from home, which is especially helpful for pregnant moms, large or busy families.”
For expectant parents, Akron Children’s recommends choosing a provider in the third trimester of pregnancy, but for those who want to change their child’s primary care provider, any time is the right time for a telehealth interview.
“When I called Akron Children’s in Austintown about meeting with a pediatrician, they gave us the option of a video call. Due to the pandemic, it was a great option for us since we were trying to limit our exposure of getting sick right before our baby came,” said new mom Morgan Urbania of Newton Falls. “We’d never used telehealth for anything before and found it very easy to setup and user-friendly; everything went smoothly during our video call.”
During the interview, parents can ask about the provider’s education and years of experience; philosophy on everything from vaccines to potty-training; and learn about office hours, appointment availability and after-hours coverage. It’s recommended that parents make a question checklist to help keep thoughts organized during the interview.
“My husband and I immediately knew we liked Dr. (Catherine) Henson after the video interview, which lasted about 20 minutes,” said Morgan. “She was personable and answered our questions honestly and with compassion.”
Good communication between a provider and parent is essential to building a good relationship. Interviewing a provider allows parents to see if the provider is a good listener who seems responsive to concerns. It also gives parents an opportunity to see if they feel comfortable asking questions or if a provider makes them feel intimidated.
“Dr. Henson was just as genuine in person as she was during the video call. We felt we made the right decision by choosing her as our pediatrician and that the video call made that easy for us,” said Morgan. “I would absolutely recommend telehealth interviews to other parents. It was extremely convenient, easy to fit in our schedule and made us feel safe by avoiding any risk of illness just before our daughter was born.”
If parents don’t make a connection with a provider during the telehealth interview, they are welcome to schedule an interview with a different provider.
Every Akron Children’s primary care provider who is accepting new patients offers telehealth interviews. Visit akronchildrens.org/pediatrics for office locations and provider information. To schedule a telehealth interview, parents can call the Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics office of their choice or Locust Pediatric Care Group. Parents will receive an email the day before the appointment that includes the video link for the telehealth visit.