When deciding what kind of primary care physician to commit to, an option that you might often hear about are family medicine doctors. But this can beg the question, 'What is family medicine, anyway?' In essence, a family medicine doctor is one that stands alongside your family as it grows, ensuring that all of you are staying healthy on a regular basis and are receiving proper treatment for any and all of your health problems.
is a Pittsburgh-based practice that provides personalized primary and preventive care to patients of all ages and backgrounds. An independent practice, our team of experienced family physicians deliver a range of services that are specially designed to meet the needs of our patients.
In this article, you'll learn not only the role that family medicine physicians play, but also how this role compares to other types of primary care providers. With this knowledge, you'll be able to make the most informed decision possible when choosing the most suitable option for you and your family.
How Family Medicine Differs From Other Primary Care
As mentioned, family medicine physicians fall under the umbrella known as 'primary care physicians.' However, they aren't the only specialty that falls under the realm of primary health care. Pediatric and internal medicine doctors are also considered to be primary care providers. A pediatrician is a doctor that specializes specifically in the healthcare of children. Though they understand the basic concepts involved in adult care, that isn't what they specialize in and won't see patients above that age bracket (except for particular instances, like if a patient of theirs is going through a transitory stage in life).
Internal medicine doctors have a medical specialty for adult patients. Both pediatrics and internal medicine doctors provide quality, comprehensive health care, but they aren't all-encompassing.
So, what do patients do if they want to have the same doctor care for themselves, their children, and their other family members? That's where a family medicine doctor comes in!
Unlike the other two kinds of primary care physicians, family physicians are able to provide care to people of all ages. They have an all-encompassing strategy that allows them to provide services in adolescent medicine, adult care, and even those who are seniors or elderly. Family physicians can provide all of the same primary care services as the others, but simply have a much larger scope of who it is they treat.
The Education of Family Medicine Doctors
Family medicine doctors undergo rigorous and extensive education to equip themselves with a broad range of medical knowledge. This journey begins with a strong foundation from a four-year Bachelor's degree, typically in a science-related field. Following this, they embark on another four years of Medical School, where they study a comprehensive array of medical topics from cardiology to neurology, pediatrics to geriatrics.
But their education doesn't stop there. After obtaining their degree, they complete a three-year residency training program. Here, they rotate through various medical and surgical subspecialties, experiencing firsthand the diverse range of conditions they might encounter in a family practice setting. This three-year residency is structured to ensure they become adept at treating a wide spectrum of diseases and health issues that patients of all ages may face.
By the time family medicine doctors join a practice, such as , they bring with them a wealth of knowledge gained over more than a decade of intense study and hands-on experience. This solid education, combined with their dedication to patient-centered care, makes family medicine doctors uniquely qualified to provide high-quality, comprehensive healthcare for your entire family.
Conditions Family Medicine Doctors Treat
Now that you know a bit more about the role that family medicine plays, as well as how they garner their qualifications, it's time to delve into the kinds of ailments that these family medicine doctors specialize in diagnosing and treating. Some of the most common medical issues that family medicine providers can help with include:
- Conducting physical exams as well as routine checkups
- Treating illness like colds, flu, and infections
- Helping to manage chronic illness such as diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma and other chronic conditions
- Addressing mental health concerns including anxiety and depression
- Providing women's health services including Pap smears, contraception management, menopause care, prenatal care and breast cancer exams
- Providing preventive care, including immunizations (such as flu shots) and screening tests for various health conditions and chronic illnesses
As you can tell, your family doctor wears a lot of hats. When providing care for the whole family, there are many moving parts and things to keep in mind. However, the benefit of this is the bond that is able to build between your family medicine doctor and yourselves. That connection and understanding is imperative to providing the best care possible.
Contact PT Family Medicine in Pittsburgh Today
If you're looking for care that is specialized and comprehensive, designed to suit the needs of you and your loved ones, then you should strongly consider taking advantage of the care that family physicians provide. With a range of medical specialties that span across all ages, family medicine is a popular option for good reason!
If you've looked over the many health care treatments that family physicians deliver and believe that receiving treatment from a family physician is right for you, don't hesitate to contact our team of highly skilled physicians at for personalized care or directly from our website today.