Throughout medical school and residency, there were long hand written histories and physicals, note taking, and documenting with the help of acronyms. It was like a shorthand before electronic health records came along. ( Oh no, I’m showing my age now!)
Parents today are faced with a myriad of choices and the tools of the Internet are at their fingertips - so the simple acronym “CARS” may help as they make one of the biggest decision of their lives; choosing a pediatrician for their child.
Credentials Access Referrals and (good) Sense.
I am truly excited to help prospective parents or families navigate the process easily. It’s actually not that complicated, especially when one thinks from the aspect of teamwork! Your pediatrician is a valuable addition to your team, dedicated to the health and well being of your child , and thus your family.
Credentials - Most pediatricians you will encounter are board-certified. After a pediatrician finishes their residency training, they must pass an extensive examination called the Boards. All of the providers at the Pediatric Group have credentials with the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) . Every 8 to 10 years providers must complete re-certification through ongoing continuing medical education and testing, to maintain their status. It is an important and well deserved title for clinicians who achieve it and maintain it. Hospital affiliations are also important, as are relationships with sub-specialist physicians. The Pediatric Group is affiliated with the Inova hospitals, in case admissions are needed, and we know and refer to all their excellent sub-specialists, if needed for your child.
Access - Where is the pediatrician’s office located? Is it in a high-rise with valet parking and a long elevator ride up to the fifth floor? Is there sidewalk access and feasible parking situation? How is the traffic pattern during peak times when you will be seeking care? Just like we choose a favorite grocery store or pharmacy because it also happens to be on our way home from work, having reasonable geographic access to the pediatrician is very important - especially on busy days when leaving work, or in the traffic patterns we all experience in Northern Virginia.
How accessible are the providers and care? Regular Office hours, walk in, same day, after hours, and weekend sick visit availability varies by practice, so go over these points at an on site visit.
Referrals- The biggest source of helpful information for a good pediatrician is word-of-mouth. This has always been the case. I believe this will never change, no matter how technologically advanced we become. In the age of Google, Yelp, and a practice’s own posted reviews, it always makes perfect sense to receive verbal input from friends, family, neighbors, and of course, your OB/GYN doctor.
Sense- I am referring to your sense, your intuition , and the feel you get after visiting a pediatrician’s office.
See the layout of the office, meet the doctor(s) or nurse practitioner(s) face to face. Meeting some of the nurses and staff, makes the practice real before you commit to becoming an actual patient. A meet and greet visit or a prenatal visit is one of my favorite parts of my job! Communicating effectively is a vital aspect of our doctor-patient relationship, so this is a valuable quality to seek.
Enjoy that you do have choices! Get the facts and a sense of who your future health care provider will be, and ask questions! One of the mottos I tell parents is - “There is no ‘ dumb’ question, just the unasked one!”
Good luck !
Dr. Evie Cavros, FAAP, loves all that the career of Pediatrics encompasses; caring for the health and well being of all her patients, as well as personal and professional growth in such a rewarding job!