Internal Medicine Vs. General Practice Doctors

Oct 31, 2019

Comparing Internal Medicine to General Practice Doctors

Both internal medicine and general practice doctors focus on a wide range of general medical disorders. An internal medicine doctor specializes in caring for adult patients, while a general practice doctor works with patients of all ages, including children. Read below for some key similarities and differences.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Internal Medicine Doctor Medical degree $194,500 (all internists) 4% (all internists)
General Practice Doctor Medical degree $201,100 (all family and general practitioners) 10% (all family and general practitioners)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Internal Medicine vs General Practice Doctors

Internal medicine and general practice doctors are both medical professionals who are trained in general health care. They can educate patients on prevention as well as diagnose and treat acute and chronic medical conditions. The major difference between these two doctors is that internal medicine doctors specialize in treating adult patients only, while general practice doctors treat both children and adults. As a result, general practice doctors may see patients throughout their life and will develop a long-term relationship.

Internal Medicine Doctor

An internal medicine doctor, or internist, is a medical professional who specializes in the health issues of adult patients. These doctors are qualified to treat a range of diseases and conditions, including, but not limited to, hypertension, infections, diabetes, and asthma. While their training focuses on general medicine, it also includes significant training in many subspecialties, such as infectious diseases and endocrinology. Some internal medicine doctors may choose to become specialists, such as an oncologist, through further education. Internists work in both outpatient and inpatient settings.

Job responsibilities of an internal medicine doctor include:

  • Taking and reviewing a patient's medical history
  • Ordering lab tests and reviewing results
  • Writing prescriptions
  • Developing a treatment plan for patients
  • Monitoring chronic conditions

General Practice Doctor

A general practice doctor, also known as a family medicine doctor, provides primary medical care for patients of all ages. They can treat a wide range of medical conditions, and often will provide care for some conditions that are generally covered by a specialist, such as women's health. Their training typically focuses on disease prevention, health maintenance, and continuity of care across the lifespan. General practice doctors typically work in outpatient settings, such as clinics and physician offices.

Job responsibilities of a general practice doctor include:

  • Providing health education to their patients
  • Acting as a patient's primary care physician
  • Managing a patient's health screening and immunization schedule
  • Providing patients with chronic disease management
  • Recommending patients to specialists when needed

Related Careers

If you are interested in becoming an internal medicine physician, a job as a hospitalist may interest you because both fields treat a wide range of medical issues. Those interested in becoming general practice doctors may be interested in a career as a family nurse practitioner, as both fields focus on primary health care for patients of all ages.

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