A family care practitioner and a pediatrician commonly see children of all ages. They both hold medical degrees and are board-certified. Both are medical doctors who can diagnose and treat children, may see children multiple times per year for physicals, well-child visits, and immunizations, and can complete necessary in-office procedures on children. When you’re searching for a family doctor, you may be on the fence about using a family doctor or using a pediatrician for your children. Above all, it’s important to find the practitioner that makes you and your child most comfortable.
All About Pediatricians
- Primary care doctors certified through the American Board of Pediatrics
- Specialize in children’s health (physical, mental, and social health)
- Medical school graduate plus 3 year residency in pediatrics
- Better prepared and able to talk with children about personal issues
- Can treat your baby from delivery until adulthood
- Can refer your child to specialists when necessary
- May not offer gynecological services for young girls
All About Family Doctors
- Primary care doctors certified through American Board of Family Medicine
- Medical school graduate plus residencies in a variety of fields
- Licensed to practice medicine for any age or gender
- May treat the whole family with less experience treating children
- Can continue treating children when they turn 18
- Can refer your family to specialists when necessary
- Can provide immunizations and routine physicals
- Can diagnose and treat illnesses and conditions in people of all ages
If you’re not sure whether to use a family physician or a pediatrician, you may need to look at your family as well as your insurance and lifestyle. If your children have special needs, a family care practitioner may recommend you see a pediatrician for further treatment. Your family care clinic may have a pediatrician in-office so your whole family can use the same clinic, but your child still gets specialized care. Before settling on a physician, make sure your insurance coverage doesn’t vary between specialties and that you receive the best care for the co-pay you’re paying. Some plans will cover one provider and not another even within the same practice. Make sure you choose an office that is familiar with your insurance type in order to avoid billing problems for labs and hospital services.
Ratings and Reviews
Just like everything else, consumers can make informed decisions about medical practitioners by studying up on reviews and ratings. You may have difficulty choosing between a pediatrician and a family doctor in your area, but when you check out Healthgrades, WebMD, Vitals, or more.
When all else fails, a pro/con list may do the trick. You are not required to stay with one doctor if it isn’t a good fit. A medical professional may prefer you move on with your child if a pediatrician will offer the best care for your child, and your family deserves the best care possible.