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Family Medicine vs. Internal Medicine: What’s the Difference?


WRITTEN BY: UPMC
Saturday, February 18th, 2017

When choosing a primary care physician, or PCP, you usually have two choices: an internal medicine doctor or a family medicine doctor. But what’s the difference? And how do you know which type of doctor is best for you?

Find a UPMC primary care physician. Call 1-855-676-UPMCPCP (8762) or visit . For more information, visit theUPMC Primary Care website

Family Medicine Doctors vs. Internal Medicine Doctors

Although the two overlap in many areas, the difference is that family medicine physicians generally see patients of all ages, while internists focus on adults. Let’s break down the differences between these two types of primary care doctors:

  • Both internists and family medicine doctors focus on the total health of their patients and work to promote wellness and disease prevention.
  • Internists’ training primarily focuses on general medical conditions common to adults, and many receive sub-specialty training in other areas such as sleep medicine, neurology, dermatology, or geriatrics.
  • Family medicine physicians also receive hospital training, but have a focus on outpatient care. They may also have training in pediatrics. Their focus is on treating individuals of all ages, from infants through seniors. You don’t, however, need to be part of a family to have a family medicine doctor.

RELATED: How to Choose a Primary Care Physician

Finding the Primary Care That’s Right for You

An advantage of having a family medicine physician is that the whole family can be seen at the same office. You and your kids have continuity of care, and your family’s medical records are securely held by the same doctor from childhood through adulthood.

When deciding which type of doctor to see, your best approach is to find the physician you feel most comfortable with. Both types of doctors have the training to manage conditions ranging from common to complex. Visit the office, talk with the doctors, ask about their approaches to care. Then choose what is best for you as an individual, or for you and your family.

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UPMC

A $14 billion world-renowned health care provider and insurer, Pittsburgh-based UPMC is inventing new models of patient-centered, cost-effective, accountable care. UPMC provides nearly $900 million a year in benefits to its communities, including more care to the region’s most vulnerable citizens than any other health care institution. The largest nongovernmental employer in Pennsylvania, UPMC integrates 65,000 employees, more than 25 hospitals, 600 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites, and a 3.2 million-member Insurance Services Division, the largest medical and behavioral health services insurer in western Pennsylvania. Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, UPMC ranks No. 12 Read More