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The Difference Between Family Medicine And Internal Medicine

By October 12, 2021March 10th, 2022Blog

Have you been wondering about the differences between family medicine and internal medicine? Many people are confused by the two specialties, and there is much overlap between both. At the same time, there are certain noteworthy differences between them which we shall explore in this article.


There are several differences in the skill sets possessed by family medicine doctors and internal medicine doctors. The family medicine category of doctors identifies and treats a vast range of medical issues affecting patients belonging to all groups. internal medicine doctors, on the other hand, gain in-depth training about common health problems in adults. This training enables them to recognize and treat multiple complex conditions which may be impacting a single patient.

Based on this rationale, family medicine doctors have a more extensive range of issues to diagnose and cure in comparison to internal medicine doctors. They are skilled at handling people belonging to all ages, from children to older adults. Typically, these doctors are more involved in doing outpatient work such as placement of IUDs, biopsies, injections, etc. They have more comprehensive training in specialties such as pediatrics and women’s health-related issues.

Other skills that both family doctors and internal medicine doctors should have include critical thinking skills and the ability to manage multiple patients and their conditions. Both doctors have to assess patients with an entirely different set of symptoms most of the time, so possessing the above abilities is crucial. Since internal medicine doctors face more acute diseases, they need to perform well under pressure. Further, family doctors must have strong relational and interpersonal skills, which would allow them to work with families and develop strong bonds with them.

Family medicine CME conferences offer plenty of opportunities for family doctors and internal medicine doctors to hone their skill sets. Since each specialty requires mastery of different skills, doctors practicing in either field can benefit from accessing resources available at family medicine CME conferences.

Education and training

Both internal medicine doctors and family medicine doctors are required to complete medical school initially. After that, both begin a residency in different training formats. For instance, internal medicine doctors look after hospitalized individuals for three years. They receive training in critical care, emergency cases, and other sub-specialty care.

On the other hand, family physicians obtain one year of the same type of inpatient training. The remaining two years are split between outpatient disciplines like pediatrics and OB/GYN. Usually, internal medicine doctors have a more strenuous work schedule, but this varies based on location and the type of educational institution that a physician attends. Due to the nature of both disciplines, internal medicine doctors have the opportunity to be trained in a wide range of specialties. By comparison, exposure to each specialty area is limited for family medicine practitioners.

Once their educational requirements are met, family medicine practitioners and internal medicine doctors can utilize continuing education opportunities available in different formats. Family medicine CME conferences provide a platform for doctors to learn more about the latest advancements in their respective specialty areas. They are also a way to learn more about upcoming courses, workshops, training, and seminars.

Types of patients treated

Family medicine offers treatment options to everyone. This means that every licensed family physician is acquainted with the different issues and conditions that impact patients belonging to all age groups. By comparison, internal medicine focuses primarily on treating adults, and internal medicine doctors are trained in treating health risks and conditions which impact every stage of adult life.

The type of setting in which two kinds of doctors practice is also different. Whereas internal medicine doctors usually work in hospital settings, family medicine practitioners practice in outpatient settings. This does not have any impact on the quality of treatment you can get. Instead, as a patient, you need to decide which type of doctor you must see based on the symptoms you are experiencing.

Role and duties performed

Examining the type of work both specialists do helps understand the differences between family medicine and internal medicine. Both types of healthcare providers conduct traditional procedures like performing fracture care, removing foreign materials from the skin, and so forth. They also execute diagnostic processes such as gynecology tests, proctoscopy, and administering injections.

At the same time, many physicians might not perform these above procedures as other professionals like nurses may serve them instead. In family medicine, doctors provide preventive medicine mainly in outpatient settings, and internal medicine doctors primarily work in inpatient settings but could work in clinics. internal medicine doctors usually treat more complex health conditions than family practitioners who do not look after many hospitalization cases.

Exceptions to the above rule apply as many family doctors also treat patients having complicated health complications. Similarly, internal medicine doctors could be working with mostly healthy patients. The primary goal of family medicine is to ensure that patients do not encounter significant health problems in the long term. Family doctors might refer patients to internal medicine doctors if required, but many doctors opt to take as much care of the situation as they can by themselves. Both family medicine practitioners and internal medicine doctors can learn more about each other’s work by attending family medicine CME conferences.

Family medicine CME conferences are a great platform to learn more about family medicine, internal medicine, and advancements in each specialty area. If you would like to know more about upcoming conferences, visit the American Medical Seminars website today.

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