Family Medicine Family medicine is a primary care specialty that differs from internal medicine in a few important ways. Family doctors are trained to care for patients of all ages, including babies, children, pregnant women and the elderly, and they are trained for the clinic and hospital environments. Internal medicine doctors are trained to care for adults only, and a majority of their time is spent in a hospital. Like family doctors, pediatricians split their time between the clinic and the hospital, but they are not trained to care for adults. Your primary care provider, on the other hand, may be a physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant. They may also be trained as a family doctor, internist or pediatrician. All Stages of Life A family doctor helps lead you through all stages of your life, from infancy through old age. In this regard, you have a partner to navigate the health system and your body who also may care for many of your family members, so they truly understand your health needs in the context of your life. Like all primary care doctors, having a medical home is critical, because seeing someone throughout all of these points in your life can give the doctor a baseline, they can see things progress and, most importantly, they can help prevent health problems later in your life. A family medicine doctor is like having an internal medicine doctor, a pediatrician and a general practitioner all rolled into one. They are your first point of contact, and they stay with you throughout your healthcare journey, often helping coordinate your care when other specialists become involved. It is important to be totally honest with your doctor, so they can help you navigate future healthcare needs. This allows them to know your true history and help you identify healthcare issues throughout your life. The Whole Family One reason many choose to go with a family doctor is they are able to care and build a relationship with an entire family across generations. Some family doctors deliver babies, and the babies of those babies over time. Understanding the complexity of your home life, often the social fabric, is key to recognizing risks, stressors and barriers a patient may have to achieving their health goals. Caring for several generations also creates a deeper understanding of the hereditary and genetic information that can link family members. If you have a relationship with a physician who knows you and the history of your family, they will know better what to watch or test for in other members of your family. Choosing the Right Healthcare Partner Having a family doctor might be the right choice for you and your family or you might prefer to see an internist. It is important to find a good fit for your primary care provider. This can be hard at times, and we are always here to help make the process a little easier. You can browse through all of our physicians here and find out more about them and their care philosophies. Or give us a call at 828-213-3222 to help us find the right physician for you.