Internal Medicine vs. Family Medicine: Choosing a Primary Care Doctor

When you’re choosing your primary care doctor, there are a few important factors to take into consideration. It’s important you feel comfortable with your doctor and are confident sharing details about your health with them. Most adults have a choice between choosing an internal medicine vs. family medicine doctor. There’s really no wrong choice, it just depends on which is the best fit for you and your current situation. We’ll talk about some of the differences between internal medicine and family medicine doctors to help you narrow down your search for a primary care physician.

What is Internal Medicine?

Internal medicine is the medical specialty of prevention, diagnosis and treatment of adult diseases, therefore internal medicine doctors focus only on healthcare for adults. They specialize in knowing symptoms and treatments for the entire body and are equipped to handle any medical problem an adult patient will encounter. In fact, they are often asked to consult other physicians in diagnosing uncommon or complicated symptoms.

internal medicine vs family medicine

While these physicians specialize in treating the adult body, they’re not limited to a specific medical problem or organ system. This means you can build a long term and trusting relationship, because you have the same doctor each time you visit the clinic. However, they are able to refer you to other physicians should you need care from another specialist.

What does an Internal Medicine doctor do and what do they treat?

You can choose an internal medicine doctor, or an internist, as your primary care specialist. They perform excellent routine and preventative care for adults, such as wellness checks and physicals. Additionally, the internal medicine doctors at Greater Regional Health not only perform primary care needs, they are also the experts in diagnosing and treating complex diseases. If you choose an internal medicine specialist as your primary care doctor, they can provide you with personalized and expert care for the rest of your life.

An internal medicine doctor provides treatments for a wide array of health issues, including:

  • General medicine
  • Wellness checks and physicals
  • Preventive medicine
  • Women’s healthcare
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Musculoskeletal problems
  • Geriatrics
  • Digestive problems

What is the difference between Internal Medicine and Family Medicine doctors?

While internal medicine physicians specialize in adult healthcare, family medicine doctors treat both children and adults. This means family medicine physicians have a broader knowledge of diseases and infections for both children and adults, while internists have a deeper understanding on all adult health issues specifically. Family medicine physicians are responsible for the overall care of their patients and making referrals to specialists when needed. You may still be referred to an internist even if you choose a family medicine doctor as your primary care provider.

difference between internal medicine and family medicine

A family practice doctor will be the physician you and your family visit the most for many types of healthcare services:

  • Routine checkups
  • Physicals
  • Preventive care
  • Medication refills
  • Non-emergency illnesses
  • General health questions

Why would an adult choose to see a family medicine physician?

As an adult, you have the choice between an internal medicine vs. family medicine doctor for your primary care provider. Some adults choose to share a provider with their children, so they see a family medicine physician. In some cases, your family medicine doctor may specialize in pediatric care, but that doesn’t mean you can’t continue your relationship with this physician as an adult.

Many of the family medicine physicians at Greater Regional Health also offer obstetrics and gynecology services. They can care for expecting mothers and their babies throughout the entire pregnancy, delivery and ongoing primary care. For this reason, many women may choose to see a family medicine physician that can provide OBGYN services. This allows them to see one continuous provider for all of their healthcare needs throughout pregnancy and beyond. At Greater Regional, family and OBGYN doctors build ongoing relationships with each member of the family so they can perform exceptional health services and keep track of all health records.

How are Internal Medicine and Family Medicine doctors Alike?

When comparing internal medicine and family medicine doctors, both are considered primary care physicians. Patients can visit either for wellness checks, preventative care, routine health visits and more. Adults can choose either an internist or a family medicine provider for their general healthcare needs.

How to Choose Your Primary Care Physician

Whether you prefer an internal medicine provider or a family medicine physician, choosing a primary care doctor is a big decision. It’s important to consider your options carefully because this is the healthcare provider you’ll likely see the most and build a relationship with over time.

Contact Greater Regional Health to Determine Which Primary Care Physician is Right for You

You don’t have to decide who your primary healthcare provider will be on your first visit. An important decision like this could take some time, and our staff wants you to feel comfortable with your choice. Reach out to our trained staff at Greater Regional Health today to discuss your options or set up an appointment with one of our physicians.