Family medicine is a critical component of healthcare, providing comprehensive and continuous care to patients of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. Family medicine doctors, also known as family physicians or primary care physicians, are highly trained medical professionals who specialize in diagnosing and treating a wide range of health conditions, from common ailments to chronic diseases.
In this article, we will explore what family medicine is, what family medicine doctors do, how they differ from internal medicine doctors, and which one you should see for your medical needs.
We will also discuss the length of residency for family medicine doctors, and answer some frequently asked questions about this vital medical specialty. Whether you are a patient seeking care or a medical professional considering a career in family medicine, this guide will provide valuable insights into this critical field.
Table of Contents
What is Family Medicine?
Family and Community Medicine is an academic discipline and a medical specialty, whose clinical, educational, and research object of knowledge is in the person understood as a whole, offers a continuous medical approach without fragmentation between the biological (physical), the psychological, and social, raise the level of health of people through the integration of prevention, promotion, cure, rehabilitation and palliative care, as well as the integration of advice, care, and consolation and is addressed not only to the individuals but also families and communities.
There are four elements that make it up a discipline or medical specialty:
- Differentiated scope of action: Primary Care.
- Action paradigm: holistic care and the biopsychosocial approach.
- Specific orientation: integration of promotion, prevention, cure, rehabilitation, and palliative care.
- Own body of knowledge.
What is Primary Care?
PHC was defined as “essential care, based on practical, scientifically sound, and socially acceptable methods and technologies, made available to all individuals and families in the community, through their full participation, and at a cost that the community and the country can endure, at each and every stage of their development, in a spirit of self-reliance and self-determination. PHC represents the first level of contact of individuals, the family, and the community with the National Health System, bringing health care as close as possible to the place where people live and work, and constitutes the first element of the process of permanent health care.
Who is The Family Doctor?
He is a medical specialist in Primary Care (medicine graduate with specific postgraduate training) who provides comprehensive health care from a biopsychosocial perspective to the individual, the family, and the community.
It is the doctor who provides continuous and comprehensive health care in the context of the family without limitations due to the age or sex of the patient or the type of problems they present, be they biological, psychosocial or behavioral, or any combination thereof. It is the professional who practices the specialty using the principles of family medicine.
The profile of the Family Doctor is that of a professional for whom the person is a whole made up of physical, mental, and social aspects linked to a specific family and social context, which allows them to carry out continuous care for the group of people the one who attends to raise the level of health of those who are healthy, cure those who are sick and care, advise and alleviate the effects of the disease when recovery of health is not possible.
What Does The Family Doctor Do?
The Family Physician is the fundamental figure of the Health System and its mission is to provide integrated and complete medical care to the members of its community, having to:
- Provide medical and health care in an integrated and continuous manner to the members of the family group and of the primary communities both in consultation and at the patient’s home and both in normal and emergency regimes.
- Promote health and prevent disease and develop health education at the individual, family, and community levels.
- Contribute, together with the Health Administration, to the development of aspects of environmental, maternal, and child health, food and nutrition, epidemiology, and biostatistics, necessary for the balanced maintenance of the Health System.
- Guide patients and their families in the proper use of the established medical care system.
- Collaborate in teaching activities aimed at the training of health team personnel.
What Is The Difference Between Family Medicine and Internal Medicine?
|Family Medicine Doctor
|Internal Medicine Doctor
|Family medicine doctor is a medical specialty that provides comprehensive and continuing healthcare for individuals and families of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. Family medicine doctors are trained to diagnose and treat a wide range of health conditions, from common illnesses to chronic diseases, and they also focus on preventive care and patient education.
|Internal medicine is a medical specialty that focuses on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of illnesses in adults. Internal medicine doctors, also known as internists, are trained to provide specialized care for adults and may also specialize in specific areas such as cardiology, gastroenterology, or pulmonology.
|Family medicine doctors undergo a three-year residency program that includes training in pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, and internal medicine.
|Internal medicine doctors undergo a three-year residency program that focuses exclusively on the care of adults.
|Family medicine doctors are a good choice for those seeking comprehensive healthcare for themselves and their families
|Internal medicine doctors are a good choice for adults seeking specialized care for specific health concerns.
Should I See an Internal Medicine Doctor or a Family Doctor?
The decision to see an internal medicine doctor or a family medicine doctor depends on individual healthcare needs. Here are some factors to consider when making this decision:
Age: If you have a family with children, a family medicine doctor may be a better fit since they are trained to provide healthcare for individuals of all ages. If you are an adult and seeking care for yourself, an internal medicine doctor may be a better fit since they specialize in the care of adults.
Health concerns: If you have specific health concerns that require specialized care, such as heart disease, digestive problems, or respiratory issues, an internal medicine doctor with specialized training in those areas may be a better fit. If you have multiple health concerns or chronic conditions, a family medicine doctor may be a better fit since they provide comprehensive care and can help coordinate your overall healthcare needs.
Personal preferences: Some people may prefer to see a family medicine doctor for the continuity of care that comes with having one provider who can provide care for the whole family. Others may prefer to see an internal medicine doctor who specializes in their particular health concerns.
Ultimately, the decision to see an internal medicine doctor or a family medicine doctor depends on individual healthcare needs and personal preferences. It is important to find a provider who you trust and feel comfortable with, and who can provide the care you need.
How Long is A Residency For Family Medicine?
A residency for family medicine typically lasts for three years. After completing medical school, aspiring family medicine doctors must complete a residency program to receive specialized training in family medicine.
During the residency program, family medicine doctors receive hands-on training in a variety of medical settings, including hospitals, clinics, and private practices. They work alongside experienced doctors to develop skills in diagnosis, treatment, and management of a wide range of medical conditions.
The first year of residency typically focuses on basic medical knowledge and skills, while the second and third years provide more advanced training in areas such as preventive care, chronic disease management, and patient communication.
Upon completion of the residency program, family medicine doctors may choose to become board certified by passing a certification exam administered by the American Board of Family Medicine. Board certification is not required to practice family medicine, but it can demonstrate a doctor’s commitment to providing high-quality care and staying up-to-date with the latest medical knowledge and practices.
Can Family Medicine Doctors Do Surgery?
Family medicine physicians can perform minor surgeries in their office, such as skin biopsies or mole removals. However, family medicine physicians typically do not perform major surgeries, such as heart surgery or brain surgery, as these require specialized training in surgical subspecialties. If a family medicine physician determines that a patient needs surgery, they will refer the patient to a qualified specialist for further evaluation and treatment.
What Diseases Does Family Medicine Treat?
What pathologies do Family Medicine specialists treat? “As specialists in comprehensive health, family doctors can respond, treat and monitor acute diseases (respiratory, gastrointestinal, urinary, musculoskeletal, etc).
What is The Difference Between General and Family Medicine?
Therefore, internists see adults, while family doctors see patients of all ages. That is, a family doctor also specializes in pediatrics because he treats both children and adults.
What is The Family Medicine Unit?
The Family Medicine Unit is a new model of medical care in the Institution, focused on streamlining consultations, improving care, and preventing diseases. Since the beginning of his administration, he affirmed, one of the priorities has been to provide university students with quality spaces.
What is Better General Medicine or Internal Medicine?
Internal physicians and general practitioners focus on a general variety of illnesses and medical complications. As already mentioned, internal medicine specialists specialize in adult patients. While a general practitioner works with patients of all ages, including children.