FAMILY MEDICINE, previously known as Family Practice, is the medical specialty providing comprehensive general health care (“primary care”) to patients of all ages, from birth to death. In so doing, Family Medicine physicians treat patients of any age or gender, regardless of their disease or condition. As a result, Family Medicine often encompasses aspects of Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, OB-GYN, Psychiatry, and Geriatrics In addition to treating a spectrum of medical issues. Family Medicine specialists emphasize disease prevention and health promotion. To become eligible for board certification in Family Medicine, a physician must first complete a 3-year residency in an accredited Family Medicine program. Some Family Medicine practitioners complete additional training to specialize in Adolescent Medicine, Geriatric Medicine, Hospice & Palliative Medicine, Pain Medicine, or Sleep Medicine. Due to their depth of training and practice, Family Medicine physicians treat a diverse range of disorders including diabetes, hypothyroidism, minor injuries, upper respiratory infections, allergies, asthma, depression, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Although consultation with a specialist may ultimately be required, Family Medicine physicians are often the first line of primary care for patients in need.
Family Medicine experts are primarily required to evaluate issues involving standard of care (e.g. failure to diagnose). Although they may also opine on causation, issues of harm and proximate cause are more commonly covered by subspecialists.