You may have heard the term family medicine or family practice from time to time and wondered what it actually means. What does it entail to be a family doctor? How do I find a family medicine specialist? These are great questions and Arrowhead Health Centers is here to help you answer them. We will start with the basics and then go a bit more in depth.
Family Medicine Defined
In the world of healthcare there is one thing that remains a constant: family medicine doctors are devoted to treating the whole person. The foundation of family medicine is a continuous and personal relationship with the patient that focuses on integrated care. With a family medicine provider, you don’t get the limited care of other specialists that are tied to a particular organ or disease. Instead, these doctors can care for patients of all ages and genders, and they can advocate for the patient in a health care system that is complex.
The History of Family Medicine
Family medicine was created as a specialty in 1969 to fulfill the most general function in medicine. Since it started, this specialty has delivered on its vow to reverse the decline of general medicine as well as provide face-to-face medical care to people of every creed and color, in every region of America.
What Do Family Medicine Doctors Do?
Also known as primary care doctors, family medicine physicians conduct approximately 20 percent of office visits which adds up to about 214 million visits every year. That is 48 percent more than the next most visited specialty.
These days, primary care doctors provide the majority of care for the United States’ underserved rural and urban population. They are spread out more proportionally than any other specialty to the whole of the States. Needless to say, without them we would be in a lack of access to primary care.
Family Medicine Doctors Are Qualified!
Due to the amount of training that family physicians go through, they are the only specialists qualified to treat a majority of ailments and also provide holistic healthcare for people of every age. These family physicians, like other medical specialties, are required to complete a three-year residency after graduation from medical school.
As a resident doctor, they participate in integrated inpatient and outpatient learning and receive training in six areas. These areas include: obstetrics and gynecology, surgery, community medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry and neurology, and internal medicine. They are also included on areas such as emergency medicine, orthopedics, geriatrics, radiology, urology, otolaryngology, and ophthalmology. Whew, that was a lot to simply say out loud, let alone actually be involved in.
These family doctors also deliver a range of chronic, acute, and preventive medical care services as well as providing their patients with a medical home. Alongside diagnosing and treating illness, they provide preventive care which includes items such as routine checkups, immunizations and screening tests, health-risk assessments, and personalized counseling on staying healthy. They will also manage chronic illness by coordinating other subspecialists. Problems such as stroke and hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and asthma can all be provided by a family physician.
Family Medicine at Arrowhead Health Centers
Arrowhead Health Centers has what we believe to be the best family medicine doctors out there! At nearly every one of our valley locations, we will have a family practice specialist that is devoted to helping you get on the right track. If you are feeling a little under the weather and you have never had a family doctor before, now is the time to give us a call! You can reach us at 623.877.5587 or visit our Contact Us page.