Family Medicine abbreviated as FM refers to the specialization in the intensive or comprehensive care of patients of all ranges. Family doctors and family physicians are involved in the practice of family medicine, and they differ from the regular doctors in the intensity of care with which they handle their patients. In Europe, Family medicine is known by the name General Practice and the person in charge of the patients for treatment of acute or chronic ailments is General Practice Doctor, abbreviated as GP.
Family medicine is a three-dimensional specialty that encompasses knowledge, skills and process. The process bit focuses on a physician-patient relationship for which the patient in question receives integrated care. With other physicians, specialty is limited to a specific disease, genders or organs, but with family physicians, the care extends to all genders and covers for all ailments.
Family medicine can be ideally traced to the care of patients after World WarII, with the intent of creating a dynamic shift from the practice of general medicine to provision of personal and quality medical care to people of all walks. With time, the attempt which started way back in 1969 has borne fruits in the fact that family physicians are now responsible for the provision of health care services to rural and urban inhabitants.
Family physicians receive extensive training in a bid to ensure that they are up to the task, which is providing the comprehensive care for patients with their differing ages. The residency program put in place after the graduation of family physicians from medical school presents them with an opportunity to acquire skills in the treatment of diseases in the following six major medical areas: community medicine, surgery, internal medicine, psychiatry and neurology, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynaecology. Family physicians, upon the acquisition of the skills, are in a position to also provide coordinated care with specialists handling specific diseases in their patients.
With family medicine, family physicians, in addition to diagnosing and treating diseases, provide preventive care. Preventive care is a wide scope in itself and covers for regular checkups, inoculation, screening tests, health-risk assessments and provision of advice on the maintenance of a quality and healthy lifestyle.
Primary care is the wider of medical care that family medicine falls under. The Institute of Medicine defines primary care as “the provision of integrated, accessible health care services by clinicians who are accountable for the addressing a large majority of personal health care needs, developing a sustained partnership with patients and practicing in the context of family and community”. Other primary care specialties include pediatrics and general internal medicine. Family physicians and doctors thus fall under a wider category of primary care physicians called family care physicians. While there are several similarities between family physicians and other primary care physicians, family physicians are at edge of making an overall impact on the health of a patient for their lifetime.The intent of primary care as is with family medicine is provision of patient-centered care as opposed to physician-centered care, an act that has helped in the achievement of impressive health outcomes, translating to saving costs associated with treating chronic illnesses which could have been handled in their acute stages.