When you are choosing a primary care doctor, you have a few choices on the table to choose from. For one, you can go with a family medicine doctor, also known as a general practitioner. On the other hand, you can choose a doctor of internal medicine. Each option comes with its advantages and disadvantages.
What to Expect with a Doctor of Family Medicine
Doctors of family medicine are sometimes called general practitioners because they are like the utility player of the medical field. Instead of specializing in one gender, one area of the body, or one branch of medicine, they receive training that allows them to work with any person no matter their gender, age, or health problems. If you are married with a family, then a general practitioner should have a certain appeal in that you can have the same doctor for your whole family. There are some limitations to this broad approach in that you still want a gynecologist to help your wife with giving birth, and if someone in your family has a unique medical condition, then you will want to seek out the help of a specialist. On the other hand, for most illnesses and ailments that your family contends with, you should only have to go to your family doctor to get the care that you need.
What to Expect with a Doctor of Internal Medicine
Doctors of internal medicine, who are sometimes referred to as internists, only treat adults. What this means in terms of medical treatment is that they will work with you as long as you fall within the range of an older adolescent to an elderly patient. Another difference between an internist and a general practitioner is that the internist will typically work out of a hospital; whereas, the general practitioner will often have their own practice outside of the hospital. Thus, the internist should be seen as part of a caregiving team who consults with and for other doctors in the hospital. Thus, if you think you might need help form a specialist, you should consider working with an internist first since they will likely have a working relationship with more specialists than a general practitioner.
Choosing a doctor to see to your needs, you need to look at more than convenience. If you have a strong relationship with a family doctor, then working with that doctor will probably be in your best interest. On the other hand, you should not let the convenience of working with one doctor for your whole family stop you from seeking care from a doctor who specializes in the types of health conditions that develop as you age. In other words, as an adult, it is okay to graduate from a family doctor to an adult doctor, like Harvey Harold E II MD PLLC.