Your family is expanding and you are facing a dilemma: choosing the doctor that will be best for your child. Most parents select a primary care physician so they have one doctor to visit for routine checkups, illness, and more.
Both family doctors and pediatricians are qualified to take care of children. As a parent, you can choose either specialty and be confident in knowing that your child will receive quality medical care.
When you are choosing a primary care physician, does it make sense to go with a pediatrician for your children? Or, is it better to take the kids to your family practitioner so everyone in the family is going to the same healthcare clinic?
Many parents assume that pediatric specialty is the best solution for their children. Before you jump to conclusions, consider the pros and cons of both types of doctors: pediatricians and family doctors.
Differences Between Pediatricians and Family Doctors
As you are making this decision, it’s important to know the difference between a pediatrician and a family doctor:
- Pediatrician: In the pediatric specialty, doctors only provide medical care for children from birth to 18 years old. Pediatricians complete four years of medical school, followed by three years as a pediatric medical resident.
- Family Doctor: General practitioners offer medical services for people of all ages, including both children and adults. After a family doctor completes four years of medical school, their residency can be in various departments in the medical field, such as internal medicine, pediatrics, geriatrics, gynecology, etc.
Even though both providers are doctors, there are specific distinctions in their training, education, and specializations. So, the type of care your children will receive will vary depending on the doctor you are visiting.
Should You Choose a Pediatrician or Family Doctor?
Since pediatricians are trained in diagnosing medical conditions that affect children, they can be a preferred choice when a child has specific medical concerns. One of the main reasons why parents choose a pediatrician over a family doctor is because the child requires special care due to an illness, birth defect, or premature birth.
Family doctors also have a lot of experience with diagnosis and treatment, but their experience includes people of all ages. Family doctors are great resources for a variety of health concerns, including general checkups, diagnostics, and treatments for the entire family.
The truth is that you won’t find a one-size-fits-all solution for every family. When you are choosing a primary care physician for your children, it’s important to consider your individuation situation.
Since pediatricians work with children all day long, they often have an easier time building relationships with young patients and their parents – creating a better experience for everyone involved. But you can also find family doctors who enjoy working with children and offer a similar experience.
Factors to Consider: Family Doctor vs. Pediatrician
Here are a few more details to consider when you are trying to choose between a pediatrician or a family doctor:
- Continuity of Care: One drawback to a pediatrician is that the medical care is no longer available from this provider after the child turns 18 years old. If you want the child to maintain the same doctor in the late teen and early adult years, then it might be best to choose a family doctor instead of a pediatrician.
- Convenience for the Family: Another reason why parents often choose family doctors is because of the convenience of having one medical clinic for everyone in the family. It can be a hassle to drive to different medical offices when each family member has a different primary care physician.
- Family Health History: Do you have a specific diagnosis or health concern that runs in the family? Then it can be helpful for all members of the family to be visiting the same doctor. A family doctor will have more experience and medical history when working with everyone, which can improve the overall treatments and outcomes for your family members.
- Insurance Coverage: Also, check on your insurance coverage to see what the co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses are for these different types of doctors. If you are paying a lot more for a pediatrician because of their specialty, then it might make sense to stick with a family doctor because of the money you will save over the years.
- Location Near Your Home: Another factor to consider is the location of the medical clinic. Is the office close to your home and easy to access? When you are running the kids around, it’s important to make sure that you don’t have to drive across town every time you need to visit a doctor.
- Other Healthcare Providers: Find out what happens if your primary care physician is out of the office or unavailable. It’s important to choose a medical clinic with multiple doctors, so you always have a backup in case your main doctor is unavailable.
Convenience and Building a Relationship with a Family Doctor
The best healthcare outcomes happen when you build a relationship with the doctor over time. A family doctor is an ongoing provider for everyone in the family, which means that you can develop this relationship that can last for many years.
Parents love that a wide range of medical services are available from a family doctor. For example, when you are scheduling annual checkups or vaccinations for one person in the family, it makes sense to book appointments for everyone at the same time.
Streamline your schedule by bringing all members of the family to the same doctor, instead of trying to keep track of different appointments and locations for each person.
Quality Medical Care for the Whole Family from Colorado Primary Health Care
When you are choosing a primary care physician for your family, we invite you to learn more about the services offered here at Colorado Primary Health Care. Our team includes doctors who are experienced in working with young children, as well as providers who specialize in adults and geriatrics.
Parents love the benefits that come from choosing a family doctor, especially because of the convenience in accessing all the general medical services you need in one location.
We invite you to visit our office or call if you are interested in information about the services that we provide. For more details, reach out to Colorado Primary Health Care using our online form if you want to request an appointment. Or call our office at your convenience: (303) 703-8583.