Similarities Between Family Medicine and Internal Medicine

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These medical professionals serve as primary care physicians and have extensive specialty training. Both are used to treat adults, and both have the potential to help children as well. Unlike those in more specialized fields, family doctors are trained to care for patients of all ages, from infants to the elderly, and treat a wide range of conditions.

What are Internal Medicine Doctors?

As their name implies, internists focus on the health of adults. Though some internal medicine specialists also handle pediatric patients, this requires additional training in pediatrics.

The field of internal medicine focuses on the health of adults from the perspective of both treating and preventing illness. They do their best to provide treatment for various medical issues and advise people on improving their health in general.

Some internists choose to further their education in neurology, endocrinology, oncology, psychiatry, dermatology, cardiology, geriatrics, or rheumatology after completing the required three-year residency in internal medicine.

What are Family Medicine Doctors?

Doctors specializing in family medicine treat patients of all ages, from newborns to the elderly. They provide services in four areas of medicine: pediatrics, medication for teenagers, therapy for adults, and geriatrics. Such doctors specializing in family medicine frequently see the same patients throughout their lives, and in some instances, they treat numerous members of the same family.

After four years of medical school, physicians who wish to specialize in family medicine must undergo a residency program lasting at least three years. Medical specialties covered during a family medicine residency include but are not limited to pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, internal medicine, emergency medicine, surgery, psychiatry, radiography, ophthalmology, urology, and many more. They must be able to identify and treat a wide range of illnesses and ailments since they see patients of all ages.

Many doctors in family medicine also provide services in specialized areas like obstetrics, sports medicine, and palliative care after completing additional fellowship training.

Differences Between Family Medicine Doctors and Internal Medicine Doctors

It is essential to recognize that the demographics of the patients seen by internal medicine specialists and family physicians are relatively distinct from one another. In this regard, the two subspecialties of medicine differ significantly.

In contrast, internal medicine exclusively serves adults, but family medicine often treats the entire family, including children.

Similarities Between Family Medicine Doctors and Internal Medicine Doctors

Internal medicine and family medicine are two of the many subspecialties from which primary care physicians belong. Both of these physicians have received subspecialty training that was suited to their specific requirements and interests. Additionally, both are capable of treating adults, and in some cases, are also capable of treating children.


  • Many people compare an internal medicine doctor and a family medicine practitioner before deciding on a primary care physician.
  • Family medicine is primarily concerned with patients of all ages.
  • Seeing a family doctor is a smart option; they have considerable expertise treating patients of all ages, from babies to the elderly.
  • Working with either primary care or specialized doctors has advantages in the end.
  • There is widespread agreement that doctors should not treat members of their own families or family relations.
  • A walk-in care center is similar to a temporary doctor’s office. Meanwhile, withholding treatment is at the discretion of the physician.
  • A physician’s decision to refuse care may be influenced by a number of factors.


What is the difference between family practice and internal medicine? 

Patients of all ages are the primary focus of family medicine. The general public, young and old alike. That’s why it’s a good idea to make an appointment with a family doctor; they have extensive experience treating patients of all ages, from newborns to the elderly.

As the name implies, internal medicine is concerned with the health of adults. An internist is a specialist in adult health care. It means they cater to the particular requirements of adult patients and address the distinct health concerns they confront throughout their adult lives.

Family medicine or internal medicine, which one is better?

Choosing a primary care physician can be challenging due to the similarity between internal medicine physicians and family medicine physicians. They can diagnose and treat a wide range of illnesses, and they’ll advise you on how to be healthy and identify health issues early on when they’re most amenable to intervention. In the end, there are advantages to working with either primary care or specialty doctors.

What are family practice physicians not allowed to do? 

There is a common consensus that doctors shouldn’t treat members of their own families or their family members. When a physician’s direct family member or the physician is the patient, the physician’s ability to maintain professional neutrality may be impaired, and the treatment provided to the patient may be damaged. Doctors will avoid touching on personal or embarrassing topics throughout the medical history or the physical examination.

Can physicians prescribe medication to themselves or their families in Canada and USA? 

According to the Canadian Medical Association’s code of ethics and professionalism, self-treatment, treatment of members of one’s immediate family, and treatment of members of one’s extended family should be limited to minor or emergency interventions, performed only when another physician is unavailable, and should not incur a fee.

Treatment of oneself and one’s loved ones is discouraged in the USA and Canada. Also, doctors shouldn’t look at their medical records or those of their friends and family unless they have the patient’s express permission to do so. In doing so, doctors risk violating patients’ privacy and maybe violating the administrative regulations of the institution or facility responsible for maintaining their health information.

Difference between family doctor vs. walk-in clinic.

A walk-in care center is similar to a doctor you may visit for a limited time. They are not your family doctor, although you may see them again if you return to the same clinic.

You can expect continuous doctor care at a family practice clinic, where you may schedule regular checkups. You should see them for routine exams, questions, and prescription renewals.

While walk-in clinics and emergency rooms offer many of the same services as primary care physicians, they often need to become more familiar with your health history. Most walk-in clinics only employ temporary physicians; however, some also use permanent family physicians who may or may not be taking new patients.

Can my family doctor refuse to see me?

It is at the physician’s discretion to withhold treatment. Generally speaking, private doctors have more control over refusing treatment than their counterparts in Medicare-compliant facilities. However, even Medicare-accepting doctors may refuse to treat a patient in exceptional cases.

A physician’s decision to decline care might be based on several factors. The most glaring of them is if the doctor has never encountered a case similar to the patient before.

A physician may refuse to treat a patient for a variety of other reasons, such as:

  • There is evidence of drug-seeking behavior in the patient;
  • The patient is disruptive or challenging to manage in some way
  • The physician is not affiliated with the patient’s health insurance company.

Author: Samsa Latif

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