Within the medical profession, there are many types of specialists and surgeons, each with their own expertise in a particular branch of healthcare. Often times, the differences between two types of practices are unknown to those who are not in the medical field. Two examples of frequently confused practices are general practice and family practice.
What’s the Difference?
General practice doctors and family practice doctors are quite similar. They both have to complete a four-year bachelor’s degree with a strong focus on biology, physics, and chemistry. They both spend four years in medical school, and three years of residency.
• Family Practice. This is a medical specialty focused on providing continuous health care for an individual and their family. These doctors specialize in treating a specific part of the body, a specific patient and a specific illness. Family practice doctors often receive more training in the fields of geriatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, and pediatrics. They are uniquely trained to provide health care for an individual from birth to old age.
• General Practice. These doctors are also able to treat patients of any age, but generally do not specialize in a particular field. They are therefore more likely to refer a patient to a specialist much sooner than a family practice doctor would.
The Bigger Picture
One of the major advantages of a family practice is that the doctor gets to see a much broader or bigger picture of a patient’s life than most doctors would. Over their patient’s lifetime, they get to know the patient’s history. These doctors tend to know their patient’s lifestyle and their family dynamic, making them better equipped to choose treatment options. In other words, a family practice doctor is more aware of underlying conditions.
Since family physicians are more likely to see a patient throughout their whole life or most of their patient’s life, these doctors are more focused on preventative medicine. They are generally more focused on promoting overall physical and mental health. They are also better equipped to handle chronic medical conditions. General practitioners tend to focus on the treatment of the illness, rather than the person. They develop relationships with trusted specialists, to whom they refer patients with more complicated medical conditions.
Both family and general practice physicians can be primary care doctors.
• What is Primary Care Practice? This is a patient’s first entry point into the health care system. Primary care practices provide health maintenance, disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment of various illnesses – both acute and chronic, and health promotion.
While family practices tend to know more about the patient and are more specialized than general practices, family practice physicians also refer patients to specialists when a patient’s condition calls for treatment outside of the family practice realm. The specialist then works with the primary care doctor and the patient in order to come up with the best treatment options possible.
It is therefore important to be careful when choosing a family practice in Las Vegas since they are generally with the patient throughout the duration of their lives.
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