Understanding about Family Medicine

Understanding about Family Medicine


For many students (and patients alike), this is perhaps one of the most confusing questions, particularly when referring to internists who practice general internal medicine. However, there are fundamental differences in these two specialties’ emphasis, preparation, and patient care practices.

In reaction to the growing degree of specialization in medicine that was seen as increasingly threatening the doctor-patient relationship’s primacy and quality of treatment, family medicine’s specialty arose out of the general practitioner movement in the late 1960s. Family medicine is conceptually based around a social unit (family) as opposed to either a particular group of patients (i.e., adults, children, or women), the organ system (i.e., otolaryngology or urology), or the nature of the intervention (i.e., surgery). As a result, family doctors are qualified to deal with the full spectrum of medical conditions that the members of a family unit can experience.

A better understanding of the medical history of your family

Family medicine physicians will develop a thorough understanding of your family’s medical history over time and regular meetings. As a result, physicians will be better prepared with customized details, and the most targeted care options will be available to you more easily.

Diagnoses may also be notified by close attention to patient medical history and help combat any confusion in assessing a disease. Doctors may design a care plan that better fits the patient and their family’s circumstances if one family member has a chronic illness. Comprehensive knowledge of family medical history is critical to catching such diseases early in an age where chronic non-communicable diseases have replaced infectious diseases as the primary cause of impairment and morbidity.

Diagnosing emerging diseases by family doctors

Because they offer care for long periods of time for you and your family, family doctors know your medical background very well. When you have new or odd symptoms, they know what is “normal” for you and are often the first person you confide in. Your family doctor’s familiarity with your medical history helps him easily spot a big change that may signify a significant or hidden illness.

Family physicians are often the first to screen you for early symptoms of severe illnesses such as cancer and are often the first to recognize new conditions. To diagnose illnesses, they order, administer, and interpret tests, describe the findings to you, and then track your progress and, when appropriate, reevaluate your care.

Therefore, it can be seen that the variations between internal medicine and family medicine are important. All have distinct skillsets and essential positions in treating adult patients and, depending on the practice environment and the patient’s individual needs, provide primary care.

David Lockhart