When I first had my eldest child, now 6, I researched local pediatricians in coastal North County, where we live, and found that everyone went to one of two groups. Those I asked were neither overjoyed, nor disappointed by either one. We’ve switched around a bit, but all in all, both practices function in much the same way: you have a primary doctor, but any one of over ten physicians are available to see your child if they’re sick and need an appointment that day.
I, like the others, was not overly thrilled with either practice. They seemed to serve our purposes just fine, although I was never happy about the impersonal size and rushed feel. However when my second daughter was born two years ago, we switched to our current doctor, Dr. Shakha Gillin, and really formed a bond with her. Dr. Gillin seemed very smart, caring and efficient. She clearly adored my kids and treated cautiously but with extreme thoroughness. She was also very thoughtful and open to preferences we had which may have differed from others, like requesting an alternative vaccine schedule.
That’s why I was so saddened when I went to set up an appointment with her a couple of months ago only to find she’d left the practice. Luckily, our Dr. Gillin quickly resurfaced with a surprise new practice she’d started with two other pediatricians in Del Mar called Coast Pediatrics. When we went to see her there the other day for the first time, we were very happy with what we found. The beautiful office seemed friendly and well-run, right down to a patient portal website where families can do surveys, see their charts (including growth charts), and even request refills from home. The one visit we had at Coast was already less rushed than any we've had before and I’m sure their new vision is the reason why.
The new practice is located off Carmel Valley Road and Interstate-5 and includes only three physicians: Doctors Gillin, Taylor and Warner. Their concept is for a smaller and slower practice than what many of us are used to. I, for one, am really excited to have an opportunity to be treated by such a small group of doctors, each of whom will have opportunities get to know my kids well over the coming years.
Recently I sat down with Dr. Gillin to ask her a few questions about her big move and the ways in which this new, much smaller practice would work. Here’s what she said:
Why did you want to start the practice?
It was sort of a dream. I wanted to start my dream practice. I was lucky enough to have two amazing, caring, and smart partners who had similar dreams. I worked in Encinitas with amazing physicians and staff, but the medical system has forced us to see patients quicker than we would like. I wanted to open a practice that allowed me to have just a little bit more time with each patient, a little bit more personal care.
Was it a long time in the making? Hard to do?
It was, and is, hard to do, but not in the practice of medicine. The hard part is in the area of business. Working with insurances, IT, that sort of thing. But there is nothing as rewarding as seeing our patients and families—that is the best part of it all!
What makes your practice unique?
Our goal is to be an old school, small practice. We are scheduling our appointment times for a little but longer than usual, and limiting the total number of patients we will have in the practice. This way, we know every patient and family that is a part of our practice.
What kinds of things do you want perspective families to know about your practice most of all?
I truly think we are fortunate in San Diego to have so many excellent physicians. What makes us different is that we are committed to being small, and knowing your child and your family.
You can get in touch with Coast Pediatrics by visiting their website or calling the office at (858) 794-7337.