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Internal Medicine vs. Family Practice

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Treybird, Apr 1, 2002.

  1. Treybird

    Treybird Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Feb 13, 2002
    Ft. Wayne, IN
    Can anyone tell me the differencebetween internal medicine and family practice?
    Aren't they pretty much dealing with the same issues?

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  3. otter

    otter Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 31, 2001
    They're very similar. The biggest difference is that family medicine doctors also see infants and children. Family medicine requires a broader knowledge base than internal medicine, such as obstetric and pediatric care. Family medicine doctors also tend to have more personal and profound relationships with their patients because they often serve entire family members. I also know that, although internal medicine requires less broad expertise, it does require more in-depth expertise in certain areas.
  4. tazman

    tazman Member 7+ Year Member

    Mar 9, 2002
    I have been told that internal medicine is more hospital based, while family medicine is more outpatient. I've also been told that family medicine requires a broader knowledge base (ex. treating adults and children), while internal medicine allows for specialty training.
  5. pakgirl

    pakgirl Member 7+ Year Member

    Dec 4, 2001

    Although I will be a dental student in the fall, I thought I would share what I know about these two different areas of medicine. My husband is an internist seeing adults with various problems like diabetes, hypertension, etc. Choosing internal medicine allows you to specialize via fellowship training in many different areas ie pulmonary/critical care, infectious diseases, cardiology, oncology/hematology, etc. With family practice, you cannot specialize further.
    With family practice, you do treat adults and can treat children and have some training in ob/gyn. From what my husband has seen, often family practitioners will consult him on really complex medical topics since their training is so vast and not as "detailed" as internal medicine training. He trained at a school with both programs and saw that family practice has less training in internal medicine b/c they also have to learn other areas as well. That is not to say that family practitioners don't know medicine, but they are required to know a little bit of everything including ob/gyn. I hope to not offend any family practitioners out there, just trying to state what I know.
    Also, someone said earlier that internists work is hospital based. Well there are a such thing as "hospitalists" who solely work in the hospital who can be internists. Internists and family practioners generally have their own private practice or work as an employee for a group (that is what my husband is doing now) and have the ability to admit patients in the hospital.
    I hope that helps to clear up the confusion a little.

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