What is Internal Medicine?
Internal Medicine is a specialty which is often confused with Family Medicine. This is because both specializations may be Primary Care Providers. At Kymera, we refer to Family Medicine Physicians as Primary Care, but really either specialization may be your PCP of choice.
To better understand the Internal Medicine Physician, it helps to discuss the two specialities as they developed over time.
Starting in the late 1800s, the field of medicine began to take a decidedly scientific approach to healing people. Physicians began to seek to better understand the internal workings of the human body and the diseases which afflict people. Thus, Internal Medicine began, but before long, another specialization appeared.
By the early 1900s, some physicians specialized in understanding diseases and conditions specific to children. This became known as Pediatrics. During much of the 20th Century, these two specializations were the primary care physicians. Also during this time, many additional specializations arose to treat specific conditions such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and more.
Yet, each of these specializations treated individuals. By the 1960s, a move toward a more social approach took place. Instead of treating each patient as an individual apart from all others, Family Medicine Physicians treat the entire family as a unit.
For persons without children or spouses, Internal Medicine clearly is the best approach. For others who prefer to have their own doctor apart from the other members in their family, Internal Medicine is also preferred. Of course, there are often other reasons to choose an Internist over a Family doctor.
Why Some Choose an Internist for their Primary Care Physician
One key difference between the two types of primary care physicians are the direction their studies take. Internists are trained in managing the diseases common to adults. Internists often pursue additional specializations such as Endocrinology, Neurology, Infectious diseases, and Rheumatology. Too, during their training, most are required to learn about additional specialties such as
This broad training which relates primarily to adult patients often make Internal Medicine Physicians the PCP of choice for many patients.
Another key difference lay in the different approaches to acute and chronic illnesses. Because Internists have additional training in various specializations which often result in acute and chronic conditions, they are in the best position to help sufferers. Often, such conditions strongly affect daily living and having a PCP who can help manage the condition is a valuable resource. The Internal Medicine Provider is the ideal choice for such conditions.