When you bend over and hurt your back, wake up with a sore throat, or need your flu vaccine, who do you call? Wouldn’t it be great if there was someone that could help you deal with most health situations? Not every medical problem requires an emergency room or a specialist, however, navigating our healthcare system can be daunting sometimes. The most important thing to know before you have a health crisis is what and who is available in your community to meet your healthcare needs. Choosing a provider is one of the most important healthcare decisions you can make. As adults, there are only a few specialists to choose from that can address most health concerns. These medical specialties are internal medicine and family medicine—but what is the difference?
Some Common Ground
While these two specialties are distinct, there are a few similarities. Internists (internal medicine specialists) and family medicine physicians can both address most of the health care needs of adults. They both often fill the role of primary care provider, overseeing their patients’ overall health and wellbeing, offering advice on health promotion and disease prevention, and screening for illness. Both are also experts in the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses or injuries and in the management of chronic illnesses. However, while there seems to be a great deal of overlap, family medicine and internal medicine developed from different backgrounds, and each offer their own unique expertise, skills, and practice environments.
The origins of internal medicine can be found in the 1800s when the application of scientific knowledge into the practice of medicine began. This specialty focused on the diseases of adult patients and grew as medical research expanded. Today, internists diagnose and treat a majority of diseases that can affect adults and are especially skilled at dealing with complex medical problems. While some conduct their medical practice in an outpatient setting, many also treat ill adults in the hospital setting, including in the intensive care unit. If their practice is only hospital-based, they are called hospitalists. With additional years of fellowships, some internists become certified in subspecialties, such as pulmonology (lung diseases), nephrology (kidney diseases), or infectious disease.
Family medicine is built around the doctor-patient relationship and the family (or extended family and community) as the social unit. In this context, family medicine physicians focus on the whole patient, within his or her social environment, and any medical issue that may arise to interfere with health and well-being. They are also specialized treating patients of all age groups throughout their lifespan. Because the practice of family medicine is all-encompassing, providers often adapt their practices to meet the unique demands of not only the family unit, but also the community at large. Additionally, if additional specialists are needed to address a patient’s specific needs, family practitioners are extremely adept at coordinating care between disciplines, offering comprehensive care for a wide array of illnesses and injuries. Family medicine doctors are great for families, because everyone can get primary care services from the same physician, saving you time, money, and the hassle of managing multiple doctors. Overall, a family medicine provider will be able to meet most medical needs of your family, while an internist is a great doctor for adults. Both medical professionals are excellent in their own unique ways.
Primary Care Services in Fort Worth, TX
If you are looking for a family medicine doctor in Fort Worth, the primary care experts of Texas Medical Institute are here to offer you quality medical care. The Texas Medical Institute aims to address your current and past conditions in a single visit, with the help of experts, specialized doctors, therapists and support staff. We look forward to helping you manage your overall health. To make an appointment, call Texas Medical Institute in Fort Worth, Texas, at (817) 615-8633.