In the medical field, primary care doctors or primary care providers are healthcare professionals that mainly practice general medicine.
Primary care doctors are who patients see for non-emergency medical services and routine checkups. They also encourage health education, maintenance, disease prevention, health counseling, and helping patients manage short and long-term health needs.
If you have a mild cough, fever, rash, are nauseated, or other mild symptoms, a primary care provider can usually make a diagnosis to check further what needs to be done about your condition.
Not All Primary Care Physicians Are Alike
In the healthcare industry, there are many different specialties. Not all primary care doctors are the same. An internal medicine specialist is different from a pediatrician. You and the rest of your family members may see one family medicine physician or an advanced practice provider.
Since there is a multitude of titles and specialties in the medical field, understanding and getting familiar with them may seem challenging.
Whatever type of primary care provider you may require, it’s essential to know what the most common types are. This way, you’ll know who to turn to for your specific symptoms.
Vital to Patient Health
Primary care is essential to overall health. When people regularly see their primary care doctors, the likelihood of them needing urgent medical attention is reduced. This is because they are in a better position to maintain and manage their health. They know how to manage chronic symptoms and conditions better.
Exposure to primary care allows us to live healthier and prevent disability.
Here are the five types of primary care doctors and their specialties.
The rise of family medicine stemmed from the 1960s when the medical field was getting divided into specialties. There was an ongoing endeavor to promote continuing treatment in doctor-patient relationships.
Family physicians or family doctors can treat patients of all ages. They typically see patients in an outpatient setting as they diagnose and treat different varieties of ailments. Aside from those, family doctors also conduct physical examinations, wellness screenings, and offer general preventive care.
These primary care doctors give comprehensive healthcare and can treat most health conditions, stemming from the extensive training and education they acquire.
While other healthcare specialists treat a more specific condition, age group, or body part, family doctors can see the complete family unit, regardless of age and condition.
This medical specialty is another type of primary care service. Internists or internal medicine doctors, mainly see adult patients with common ailments: obesity, heart conditions, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.
Internal medicine physicians can also conduct general preventive care and health screenings. They can either be found in hospitals, doctors’ offices, or clinics.
Internal medicine was actually started earlier than family medicine. According to the American College of Physicians, internal medicine begun emerging in the late 1800s, when the diagnosis, treatment, and preventive care were approached with a more scientific methodology.
As pediatrics grew into a child-focused medical discipline, internal medicine developed to focus on the primary care requirements of adults.
As mentioned above, pediatrics focuses on the primary care needs of younger patients (babies, toddlers, children, and adolescents). Pediatricians are primary care doctors that provide treatment and care for conditions prevailing in younger patients.
These primary care doctors also provide vaccinations, physical examinations, and preventive care. Additionally, they offer professional guidance and advice on the development and growth of children.
Pediatricians usually have their own private practice. Many of them also work in a hospital or a clinic. Because of population growth, the demand for pediatricians continues to grow.
Obstetricians and gynecologists focus on overseeing women’s health. While there’s some debate in the medical field whether or not this falls under the primary care specialty, there’s no question that OB/GYN is an vital healthcare branch.
Obstetricians provide treatment and care for pre, post, and during pregnancy. They also handle labor delivery. Gynecologists, on the other hand, diagnose and treat the female reproductive organs for female patients of all ages.
This is another branch of medicine that some may classify as primary care. Geriatricians are primary care doctors that focus on the treatment and care for patients over 60. Memory issues, injuries related to falls, and deteriorating body functions because of age are some of the health conditions geriatricians treat.
Working in this medical specialty involves helping patients maintain independent physical functions and long-term care.