Having young patients on your schedule can add some fun and variety to your workday, and a broad scope of practice that includes children is critical to ensuring that they have access to high-quality care, especially in underserved areas. Despite this, declining numbers of family physicians are caring for children.1
To grow this patient population in your practice, consider the following tips.
1. Build relationships with obstetricians (OBs). Parents often seek their OB’s input when looking for a primary care physician for their newborn. Find an opportunity to introduce yourself to OBs in your area, and let them know you have experience and interest in caring for newborns and children.
2. Educate your existing patients on what you do. Your current patients may not realize that your scope of practice includes caring for children. Post visual reminders that you take care of the entire family, such as photos of newborns you’ve cared for over the years (with parental permission, of course). If a patient’s children currently see a pediatrician but might be outgrowing that office, have a conversation about transferring their care to you.
3. Create a kid-friendly environment. Make sure your practice looks like a place that takes care of kids by having some toys, children’s books, and kid-sized furniture in the waiting room, along with some exam room decor that puts kids at ease.
4. Offer family friendly hours and appointments. Parents with sick kids can’t wait days or weeks for an appointment. To meet their needs, consider offering same-day appointments, early morning walk-in hours, extended hours a few evenings each week, or Saturday morning appointments.
1. Bazemore AW, Makaroff LA, Puffer JC, et al. Declining numbers of family physicians are caring for children. J Am Board Fam Med. 2012;25(2):139-140.
Read the full FPM article: “Caring for Children: Re-examining the Family Physician’s Role.”
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