Adults can choose a family medicine doctor or an internal medicine doctor
as their primary care physician. But, which one of those doctors is the
best fit for you? Check out this blog to help you select the right physician
for your health care needs.
Family Medicine and
Internal Medicine are two of the medical specialties that treat adult patients.
After four years of medical school, all
physicians complete a three-year residency in their chosen specialty to complete
their medical education. During their residencies, family medicine specialists
spend time in Pediatrics, Surgery, Internal Medicine and Obstetrics. This
training gives them a broad range of skills to treat men, women and children
of all ages.
Within the scope of family medicine, there can be some variation with the
types and ages of patients seen in individual practices. For example,
some family medicine physicians don’t see younger children, and
others deliver babies. Internal medicine residents train exclusively in
adult diseases and conditions, including complicated medical problems.
The decision about what kind of doctor to see depends on several factors.
The first is how many different medications you take. In general, patients that take six or more medications should see an Internal
Medicine specialist. This is because the more medications you take, the
greater the chance for side effects, interactions with other medications,
and adverse effects on other medical conditions. For example, some prescription
medications can interact with over-the-counter medicines like Advil and
The second factor involves those medical conditions. If you have medical problems affecting two or more major body systems,
an Internal Medicine physician may be your best bet. The treatments for
people with multiple problems involving the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys
can affect each organ or system differently. A medication for lung disease
may cause problems for someone that also has heart disease. Internal Medicine
specialists are the best physicians to evaluate how treatments impact
all body systems. They can adjust medication doses and test different
drugs to see how they react with others over time.
If you are younger and relatively healthy, a Family Medicine doctor can
effectively treat you and your whole family. They get to know your family’s
health history and issues. It can be convenient to see just one doctor
and develop a long-term relationship with them.
If you’re an adult who has seen multiple doctors, or has several
ongoing health issues, you might consider an Internal Medicine doctor;
someone who can use their training and experience, and take the time to
investigate more complicated medical conditions.
Mark Hoskinson, MD, practices at the Campbell County Medical Group
Internal Medicine clinic in the
Main Clinic in Gillette, Wyoming. Campbell County Medical Group has highly trained
physicians and providers in both Internal Medicine and Family Medicine.
Learn about our providers online at