Partnering With Your Child’s Health Care Provider


Choosing a primary care provider for your child is very important. He or she will become a close partner in caring for your child’s health from birth through their teen years. Building a trusting relationship is therefore in your best interest.

Here are tips to foster a great partnership

Communicating with your child’s provider is a balance of open communication and reasonable expectations. You can expect your child’s provider to:

  • Help you monitor your child’s health.
  • Explain your child’s growth and development and what to expect from each stage.
  • Diagnose, explain, and treat your child’s minor to moderately serious illnesses.
  • Provide referrals in cases of illness or injury requiring special expertise.
  • Offer insight on your child’s nutrition, exercise, and weight.
  • Assess and offer advice for any developmental, behavioral, emotional, and learning issues.
  • Recommend coping interventions for family changes (i.e., death, separation, or divorce).

partner with primary care doctorYou can help your child’s provider by coming to the visit prepared with details of your concerns and your child’s current symptoms if needed. The more information you provide will help the doctor assess your child’s health. This could include information on what you have tried so far to help relieve symptoms, and what has and hasn’t worked.

Jot down your questions before the appointment so you’ll remember everything you want to bring up even if the provider doesn’t ask. You should always feel comfortable asking questions, but allowing the provider to make decisions, diagnosis, and provide (or not provide) medications based on what is best for your child’s health and not what is easiest for you or makes you feel better is the best approach.

partner with primary care doctorHow to build a strong relationship with your healthcare provider

Make the most of your relationship with your child’s provider and the office staff by:

  • Being informed, but not overwhelming. There are many sources for health information these days, including the internet, aps, books, and TV, but it is unrealistic to expect your provider to know about every health resource or the latest breakthrough you’ve found. If you have particular information you’d like the doctor to review, be sure to provide it to them well in advance to your appointment. Keep these requests to a minimum though and utilize office staff or a nurse to access informational brochures or recommendations for reliable resources for health information.
  • Be attentive during the visit. Avoid distractions so you can focus your full attention on communicating. This means turning off your cell phone and, if possible, leaving other children with another caregiver.
  • Know the rules. Be respectful of everyone’s time by arriving for appointments on time. If possible, let the office know and give 24 hours’ notice if you must reschedule. Become familiar with payment requirements and your insurance company’s referral policy to help make appointments run smoothly.
  • Before leaving, be sure you understand what follow-up appointments or tests your child needs. Take notes on any instructions and ensure you understand how to give your child any prescribed medications. Contact the office if the medication isn’t working or your child seems to have worsening or additional symptoms.

The stress of having a sick or injured child can strain communication between parents and health care providers. Sometimes all of the information covered in well-child visits can be overwhelming or leave little time for your questions. But don’t ever hesitate to ask questions, knowing that no question is insignificant.

Don’t be afraid to offer feedback about your office visit experience, such as if you felt rushed. A good provider and office staff will want to partner with you to provide the best care possible for your child.

Connect with Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines 

Mercy Children’s Hospital & Clinics is devoted to bringing Iowa the best kid-focused care. Mercy has been caring for Iowa’s kids for nearly 125 years, and their pediatric experts are devoted to making kids — and their parents — feel better. See what Mercy’s pediatric experts can do for your child. Find a pediatrician today at


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The post is part of a series of sponsored post by Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines. 

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Tips for Potty Training Toddlers

How to Prepare for Having a Baby

The Role of an OB Nurse

Important Medications for Newborns

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This post is sponsored by Mercy Medical Center -- Des Moines


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