Primary Care vs. Family Medicine: What’s the Difference?

Having a trusted doctor or clinic you can turn to in the case of a health emergency or whenever you need a physical check-up is a necessity. However, navigating the complex world of healthcare and medicine can be quite challenging, especially if you’ve never sought out a practitioner for yourself or your family before.

The most common kinds of medical professionals people turn to on a regular basis are primary care physicians or family medicine practitioners. These terms are often used interchangeably, and while they share plenty of similarities, they shouldn’t be confused with each other. There are quite a few fundamental differences separating these two fields of medicine, and understanding them will help you narrow down your search for the right healthcare practitioner.

What Is Primary Care? 

As a patient struggling with a health concern, a primary care physician will be the first person you turn to in order to resolve it. Whether you need a simple medical check-up or a more comprehensive health screening, you’ll reach out to your primary care doctor before taking any next steps.

Primary care doctors take care of the most basic medical needs of their patients, such as treating common acute illnesses and overseeing the treatment process for chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure.

Ideally, you’d want to find a primary care physician with whom you’ll be able to develop a long-running relationship. The better your doctor knows you and your body, the more accurate their diagnoses and treatment plans will be.

Other important things to look out for when seeking out a primary care physician are their experience in the area you currently live in and the network of medical professionals they operate in. Seeing as your primary care provider will always be the first point of contact for you whenever facing any health issues, it is important that they are able to refer you to the best possible specialist whenever the need arises.

Who Is Primary Care For? 

Everyone can benefit from having access to primary care. Primary care physicians take care of the medical needs of any adult individual. Most of the doctors that provide primary care are general practitioners, but this particular area of medicine can also be practiced by nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and internal medicine physicians.

In other words, primary care physicians serve any individual wishing to have a doctor they can turn to whenever they have a health-related problem, need to be referred for screenings required for work, or have a chronic disease that needs to be managed under a doctor’s oversight.

When looking for a primary care physician, the equipment present in their clinic is equally as important as the doctor’s expertise itself. You’ll want to be able to get most of the tests your general practitioner recommends at the same place as your initial visit. If you need to be referred to another clinic to do them, you might face longer waiting periods and prolonged treatment. This is not only a matter of convenience – some health conditions simply require quick, immediate action to be resolved without any complications.

What Is Family Medicine?

As opposed to primary care practitioners, who focus on individual patients, family medicine doctors will take care of the medical needs of your entire family. They also provide primary care, but what differentiates them from primary care physicians is the fact that they are also able to treat children. In a nutshell, family medicine doctors can treat newborns, the elderly, and everyone in between.

On the other hand, general practitioners and internal medicine physicians can only treat adults. While there is nothing stopping you from having a separate doctor for yourself and a completely different pediatrician to take care of the basic medical needs of your child, it is much more convenient to have a doctor who can treat your entire family and knows the medical history of each member of your household.

Who Is Family Medicine For? 

Family medicine clinics aim to provide entire families with a single, unified first point of medical contact for most of their basic health needs. They are often equipped with high-grade medical equipment and are therefore capable of carrying out procedures such as blood tests and other health screenings. This makes it convenient for parents to take care of their children’s needs in a familiar environment, reducing the anxiety many kids are susceptible to when it comes to visiting the doctor’s office.

Having a family medicine clinic you can turn to is also very convenient if you want to take care of multiple health issues of different family members at the same time. For example, if your kid has caught a cold and you’re struggling with severe headaches, you can book a single appointment and have your family doctor address both of these issues within the span of a single visit. It’s certainly a better solution than having to travel across town and back again for separate appointments at two different clinics!

Get the Medical Care You Deserve With the Chau Medical Group 

Not all health clinics are the same. Each one offers different services, and they also differ in their capacities to provide the most comprehensive care possible. Whether you’re an individual who’s seeking out a primary care physician in Orlando, FL, or want to secure a compassionate family physician for your whole household, consider reaching out to us at the Chau Medical Group.

We’re a family-run medical clinic with two locations in the Orlando area. All of our staff members are professionals with years of experience, with accreditations from some of the most renowned institutions in the state. Our on-site capabilities include blood tests, EKGs, and preventive screenings. We also have an in-house pharmacy and recently, we are also capable of providing basic mental healthcare, helping patients overcome depression or anxiety.

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