You may sometimes see this in clinics and hospital outpatient departments, internal medicine, and family medicine. These doctors are both available at the same time and the receptionist said that with your symptoms, you can get a consultation for either. If you don’t know the difference between family medicine and internal medicine, do not worry because you are not alone. Here in this article, we will discuss the difference and similarities of family practice doctors from internists and pediatricians for your kids.
Family practice doctors: Their medical origin
During the 1960s, a lot of innovations and discoveries are being noted in the field of medicine that specializations are becoming more and more developed. This led to a shortage of doctors who attend to the family’s focal diseases and needs. From general medical practice, family practice doctors become a new specialized unit the deals to patients as a family and not as an individual (child or adult) or based on bodily systems (nervous, cardiovascular, orthopedic, etc).
Difference between family medicine and internal medicine or pediatrics
Internal medicine is a general field of medicine that focuses on adult diseases. On the contrary, pediatrics is the field of medicine that deals with childhood diseases and congenital abnormalities. These two fields in medicine are being confused to be the same as family medicine and that is with good measure.
Family practice doctors can act as both an internist and a pediatrician since he caters to the medical needs of the family. Our family doctors are what we normally call or primary care physicians (PCPs), and we all know that PCPs can handle any medical condition that can affect anyone inside our family.
The difference between these fields is their specialization. You see, internal medicine and pediatrics focus only on adult and child diseases and treatments, respectively. For instance, internists do not specialize in congenital problems or defects, and pediatricians do not see patients ages 20 and above.
For family practice doctors, however, anyone can avail of their services because they are knowledgeable and skilled in regard to any field that requires primary care. However, if your problem needs attention from a specialist like a cardiologist, dermatologist, or surgeon, then your family doctor can make a referral for you.
Does insurance cover family medicine?
Yes, of course. Because they are considered as your primary care physicians, most of your consultations and visits are covered by your insurance policy. However, there are wellness seminars or counseling that may not be part of your coverage, so just to make sure, you can contact your insurance provider beforehand so you would know if a particular consult or meeting with your doctor is covered or if you would have to pay for it out-of-pocket.
We hope that after reading this article, you become enlightened about the differences between a family doctor, an internist, and a pediatrician. Just to simplify, adults can see either a family practice doctor or an internist, and parents of children can ask for medical advice from a pediatrician or their PCP as well.