When thinking about family medicine one may envision the old general practitioner from the country walking up with a medicine bag full of gadgets, pills and elixirs attempting to heal the sick. Back then, they were truly "a jack of all trades, but master of none". Today, Family Medicine has been revolutionized with training and access to modern drugs and technology to care for every ailment under the sun. So, what is family medicine today? Read on to find out.
Family medicine today provides high tech, in-depth, comprehensive health care for people of all ages. Family Medicine, as a specialty, replaced General Practice in 1969 by requiring physicians seeking board certification to complete a 3-year residency instead of a 1-year internship. Family Medicine Specialists are the cornerstone of health care systems all over the world as they universally provide the most cost effective care available.
Although Family Medicine is still the broadest medical specialty in scope of practice, it also has tremendous depth in that family medicine doctors typically refer less than 15% of their patients for specialty care. Family Medicine physicians are trained to not only promote good health, but also to provide definitive treatment for chronic health conditions. They provide preventive care through screening tests and immunizations, as well as care for chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, gout, asthma and depression. Family medicine doctors focus not only on their patients living longer, but also on their patients living better, higher quality lives. Family medicine doctors "add life to their patients' years, not just years to their patients' lives.