If recent circumstances have forced you to find a new primary care physician, two of the most common options are internal medicine and family practice physicians. While each is a skilled professional with extensive medical and diagnostic skills, a family practice doctor can see everyone in your family, while an internal medicine specialist sees adults exclusively. Unique benefits are associated with both types of physicians and therefore, it is a good idea to be aware of the information provided below when you are choosing the person to whom you will be entrusting your health for the foreseeable future. 

A Family Practice Doctor Can See You And Everyone In Your Family

It is important to note that the abilities of a family practice doctor make it possible for children who grow up and live in the same area through adulthood to always see the same doctor. That health care provider is trained to care for newborn babies, senior citizens enjoying the last of their golden years, and everyone in between.      

That can be particularly useful for teenagers going through puberty, as a bond with their doctor already exists. In fact, if you are one of the members of the sandwich generation, which involves parenting your children while one or both of your parents need your help as well, a family practice doctor is likely to be a great choice. That doctor would have access to your medical records and those of anyone else for whom you are responsible for if any serious medical concerns or questions were to occur. 

An Internal Medicine Specialist Focuses Exclusively On Providing Health Care For Adults  

If you don't have children in the home or aging parents who depend on your for assistance with medical care, an internal medicine specialist is a good choice. The same is true if you prefer to work with a doctor who does not need to split their focus on different ages and needs of their patients.

If you see this type of physician for the bulk of your medical care, you would rarely see or hear children in the facility. By extension, exposure in the office to the illnesses often associated with childhood or listening to a child cry from a shot or another procedure would be very unlikely.     

When Other Medical Care Is Needed

If anyone in your family has serious health challenges, such as a chronic disease, cancer or issues with their immune system, it is important not to assume that your primary care physician, regardless of his or her specialty, can effectively treat that problem as well as a specialist could. In that instance, you will usually be co-managed by both persons.  

For instance, a neurologist or cardiologist might see a patient who has experienced a heart attack or stroke and prescribe that person blood thinners that require monthly blood work. That information would be shared with the primary care physician and it is often possible for the patient to get the necessary blood work from their primary physician's office. That might reduce the amount of time you spend with your specialist since many specialists have appointments booked weeks in advance, thus making it easier to manage your own health.   

In conclusion, choosing the right primary care physician for you and, if applicable, your family members is an enormous decision that can impact you for years. Therefore, you need to be aware of the above information to help you make that tough choice effectively.