What is family medicine?
Family medicine refers to a medical speciality that deals with the general healthcare and well-being of newborns, children, adults, and seniors. It follows a patient-centered approach and provides holistic care in the context of families, communities, values, and belief systems.
In short, family medicine is built to cater to a wide variety of medical issues primarily encountered by members of a family unit.
What does a family medicine physician do?
A family medicine doctor is a specialization that focuses on treating the whole family as a unit. They are trained to diagnose medical problems, provide urgent care, manage chronic illnesses, and give preventative care.
Furthermore, a family medicine physician is a type of primary care doctor that specializes in treating a diverse set of medical problems for people of all ages. This includes the following:
- Lifestyle diseases, such as heart illness, hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol
- Colds, cough, and flu
- Tonsilitis and strep throat
- Skin problems
- Women’s health
- Weight management
- Family planning
Additionally, a family practice doctor provides medical care to patients with regard to non-medical and community-level factors that influence health. This includes social status, education, religion, and financial capacity.
Lastly, family doctors also conduct patient education with regards to their health and wellness. Some examples include family planning and counselling for a healthy lifestyle.
What is the difference between a GP and a family medicine doctor?
A general practitioner and family medicine doctor may have the same scope of duties in the clinical setting. However, these two medical practices actually differ in some areas.
Family medicine is already a speciality field. Doctors in this practice receive specialized training in other medical practice areas (e.g., gynecology, pediatrics, geriatrics) to better diagnose, treat, and address the medical issues of the whole family.
On the other hand, a general practitioner does not specialize in any specific field. They can diagnose various medical diseases, provide treatment for minor medical issues, and offer a first-aid response to injuries and emergency cases.
The main goal of a general practitioner is to address your main medical issue to keep you out of the hospital. If it persists, they will then refer you to a specialist who can give you proper treatment and disease management.
When should you see a family medicine physician?
A family medicine physician should be your first contact for any health and medical concerns. Some of the most common reasons to seek a family doctor include the following:
- Routine check-ups and exams - this includes annual check-ups, prenatal care, routine pregnancy care, annual screening tests and immunizations, pap smear, prostate exam, and well-child visits.
- Chronic illness management - treatment, monitoring, and symptom management of chronic diseases, which includes prescription refills, blood tests, nerve block injections, and more.
- Acute illness and injury care - this includes treatment and management of sprain, strain, fracture, and other minor injuries. They can also treat acute illnesses like bronchitis, flu, cold, cough, seasonal allergies, and ear infections.
- Referral to another specialist - a family physician may refer you to a specialist if your condition warrants it. Both physicians may then collaborate on your treatment plan.
If you’re not feeling well or have questions about your condition, you should visit our family medicine physician at PrimeCareMds in Baytown. You can also visit one of our ugent care centers: urgent care in Baytown or urgent care in Crosby.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.