Yesterday we met with another pediatric group. This one is a little closer to our house. I was hoping that we would be overwhelmingly pleased by one of the practices and it would make an easy choice, but they both have their pros and cons.
Our start with this practice was a bit rocky as we had an early appointment and when we arrived the door was locked. We proceeded to wait and other patients showed up and we kept waiting. I knocked on the door, tried to call them, and kept looking for someone to flag down, but had no luck. Finally, after waiting nearly 20 minutes, one guy had the idea to go to the practice next door to see if they had a way into the office and sure enough there was a connecting door that allowed us to get their attention. They apologized for the oversight, but I see that as a potential flag for how they operate.
We met with one of the pediatricians in the practice and she seemed nice, but not someone that I immediately fell in love with. She was patient in answering our questions. Their staff seemed very friendly and were happy to answer questions about insurance, etc. Aaron felt more comfortable with the appearance of the office (more current looking) and the other patients and their families than he did the practice we visited last week.
I saw several cons with this practice. They are absolutely unwilling to consider an alternative vaccine schedule, which I see as a sign of their practice being inflexible. The waiting area is essentially one large room with a partial wall to divide sick and well areas. The waiting area and the exam room we saw are not decorated with anything that looks like a kid. The colors are neutral, the pictures are generic artwork, and there is nothing that would capture a child's attention.
There are several things that are consistent with the first practice we met with, which makes them neutral in my opinion. Both practices offer a number you can call with questions after hours, Saturday hours for sick appointments, and neither practice makes rounds at Children's.
This pediatrician did explain that most practices in Atlanta are not going to see patients at Children's because of the traffic and time it takes to get over there as well as the fact that the doctors at Children's are much more experienced with treating kids in the hospital versus your pediatrician's experience with mostly well kids. This made sense to me, but it would be nice to be able to see a familiar face at a time when your child is really sick.
I think there are a couple of other practices in our area, so we may try to check out one of them and hope for an overwhelmingly positive experience.
Sorry this one is so long, but it helps me to capture the pros and cons so that we can make a decision.