Family medicine includes comprehensive medical care and coordination for both children and adults. This specialty addresses nearly every medical need.
What do family doctors do?
Family medicine physicians provide comprehensive care to patients of all ages with all kinds of conditions including bone and joint care, well-woman care and family planning, x-rays, eye care, mental health, care for chronic conditions including diabetes and asthma, and minor surgical procedures. Family medicine physicians also screen for early signs of serious conditions, such as cancer, and coordinate care with other medical professionals.
When should I see a family medicine doctor?
You should see a family medicine physician when you have a non-emergency health concern. You should also see your family medicine physician for your yearly physical.
Family doctors and internal medicine doctors become primary care physicians for patients. You need to establish with a primary care physician who will be able to take care of any emergencies and follow up with your health concerns. Establishing a relationship with your primary care physician (PCP) is advised and necessary in order to have all of your medical needs met. Many insurance plans require referrals from your established PCP before they will cover visits from a specialist. This is starting to become common practice with insurance companies, so even if you do not currently have that requirement with your plan it would be wise to establish with a family doctor or internal medicine doctor now in order to avoid any conflict or headache in the future.