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Internal Medicine in monterey county

Primary Care for Adults

Many people wonder: What’s the difference between a primary care provider compared to a family medicine doctor or an internal medicine specialist? While they all provide similar services, and ultimately there is no “wrong” choice, there are a few key differences that may influence your decision about which type of doctor to visit:

  • Primary care provider A primary care provider is the doctor who provides you with or helps you access a range of healthcare services. Either a family medicine physician or internal medicine physician can be your primary care provider. Though they perform similar services, family medicine and internal medicine doctors take different approaches to medical training.
  • Family medicine practitioner A family practitioner is expected to treat patients of all ages, from infants to senior citizens. This requires a broad medical background with knowledge in a variety of specialties, such as pediatrics, geriatrics, gynecology, critical care and more.
  • Internal medicine practitioner An internal medicine doctor, on the other hand, caters only to adults and has more focused training on subspecialties for adult healthcare. Many internal medicine doctors have at least some experience in endocrinology, infectious diseases, neurology, dermatology and more. They are not as prepared to treat children, but have essential medical training needed to diagnose more complicated and obscure conditions in adults.

Who Best Suits Your Needs?

Both family medicine and internal medicine doctors can provide quality medical care. Your current circumstances play the primary role in choosing one over the other as your primary care provider.

If you have a big family, a family practitioner could be the ideal choice. This offers you continuity in your family’s healthcare services and helps you avoid keeping track of numerous medical records from various doctors. Additionally, a primary family practitioner will become acquainted with your family’s medical history and susceptibility to diseases and genetic conditions. This allows them to better facilitate care for all members of your household.

For smaller families, or people without live-in relatives, an internal medicine doctor is preferable. Your doctor does not require a wide array of general medical knowledge if you are the only person they are treating. Their more specialized knowledge in adult healthcare could better cater to your specific needs. If you currently see a family practitioner who is unable to diagnose a condition, consider receiving a second opinion from an internal medicine doctor.

We offer both internal and family medicine services at Salinas Valley Health. We service all people in the local area, including the Monterey Peninsula, the Central Coast and nearby areas.