Internist vs Family Doctor: Which is Right for Me?

Dedication Health

When comparing an internist vs family doctor, it can be difficult to tell the difference between the two at first. After all, insurance companies sometimes cover either as a primary care physician and either can treat you for various reasons. However, there are distinct differences in the two, and to determine which one is right for your needs, it’s helpful to break down the unique qualities of each and how they operate.

An Internist is an Internal Specialist

“Innere Krankheiten,” or German for “internal medicine,” was first brought to the US in the late 1800s, though it existed long before that without the name. The concept behind it is simple; all areas of medicine for adults which don’t deal with the outside of the body, but rather, within. Though the scope of training varies, it usually consists of an additional 1-3 years of schooling to become an internal medicine specialist, with some physicians becoming generalists who oversee all areas of the body and others who work in a sub-specialty such as:

  • Allergy and Immunology
  • Cardiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Geriatrics
  • Hematology
  • Hepatology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Nephrology
  • Oncology
  • Pulmonology
  • Rheumatology

A Family Physician Treats Almost All Conditions in People of All Ages

A family physician doesn’t go through the extra training to focus on only one area. Instead, he could be treating illnesses with one patient, and then be performing an exam on a pregnant woman next. Moreover, the family physician sees children as well as adults and he’ll just as readily treat acne as he would create a treatment plan for someone who has been diagnosed diabetic.

Internist vs Family Doctor: Which is Right for Me?

If you’re looking for a primary care physician, either an internist or a family physician could be a good choice. Because physicians regularly refer their patients to internists when they need help with a diagnosis or aren’t able to provide the treatment someone needs, there’s no real reason to leave a family physician you’re happy with and move to the care of an internal medicine specialist. However, if you have already been diagnosed with a condition and you feel you could benefit from the care of a specialist or you’re looking for a new physician, it can be advantageous to either work with a generalist or select a practice with internists on site to ensure continuity of care.

Internist vs Family Physician: Choose Dedication Health

At Dedication Health, you don’t have to choose. With our patient-focused care model, we manage general wellness and have internists on site when more advanced care is needed. This is just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of our practice. Our patients take advantage of additional diagnostics, medication management, 24/7 access to a physician, and a number of world-class concierge medicine services. Contact our practice manager Christine at 847-986-6770 or complete our online form to learn more or to reserve your spot today.