Q & A with Dr. Matthew Webb, Pediatrician at Texas Children’s Pediatrics Houston Pediatric Associates
by Wendy Jackson Slaton
As a pediatrician, what should new parents look for when searching for a healthcare partner?
Choosing a pediatrician is a lot like dating. The relationship between you and your pediatrician comes down to “fit.” There are good and bad matches between parents and a pediatrician. Think about how you want to develop a relationship with your pediatrician. Are you the kind of person who needs extra explanation, or just need to be reassured? Do you want to be in and out of an appointment, or don’t mind waiting and having a longer patient visit?
What are some specific questions to ask when searching for a pediatrician?
- What is their same day appointment policy? Fevers can come out of nowhere and you need to see a doctor today – is that possible?
- How easy is it to get a hold of your doctor? Can a physician be reached after hours?
- Does your doctor use an electronic medical record where you can directly message them and schedule appointments online?
- Are there weekend clinic hours?
- What is the clinic’s vaccination policy?
Is it ideal to find a pediatrician who will see a child through the age of 18?
Pediatricians will typically see children at least through high school. Some of my female patients transition to their OB/GYN after age 18, but many of my male patients stay with me through the age of 21. Pediatricians over time get to know your child – not only their medical history, but their personalities as well. I think it is vitally important for a teenager to see a pediatrician regularly. Once the child gets beyond the toddler years, pediatricians are extremely helpful with guiding families through puberty, scholastic and learning issues, mental health disorders and safety.
On the topic of vaccines, where should parents seek real data on vaccine recommendations in order to discuss prior to meeting with a potential pediatrician?
The two sources that offer evidence based, data driven recommendations regarding vaccines are the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The AAP material can be located at healthychildren.org under the safety and prevention tablet. The CDC material is cdc.gov/vaccines.
For more information on Texas Children’s Pediatrics Houston Pediatric Associates, visit www.texaschildrenspediatrics.org.