Internal Medicine Doctor Defined

General Steward Health Care

When you hear the term, internal medicine doctor do you understand what he or she treats and how they differ from a family medicine physician?

Technically, internal medicine and family medicine physicians are all primary care physicians. But the biggest difference between the two is the type of patient they treat. Internal medicine doctors treat adults over the age of 18 and family medicine doctors treat children and adults.

Here is an overview which doctor cares for which type of patient:

  • Pediatricians see children
  • Internal medicine physicians see adults
  • Family medicine practitioners are a pediatrician and internist combined into one specialty and see both children and adults

Your personal health care needs will drive your choice in seeing an internal medicine doctor versus a family medicine physician. If you have a family and want the convenience of having everyone seen at the same location, then a family medicine practice may be the best option as they are designed to serve the health needs of the entire family. If you are only concerned about your own health care needs, then an internal medicine practice may be the right fit for you.

The most important deciding factor should be your comfort level with your doctor. Make sure your primary care physician is someone you feel comfortable discussing sensitive health topics with; regardless of whether the doctor works at a family medicine or internal medicine practice.

Within the Steward Health Care System, there are many options for primary care physicians, including internal medicine and family medicine that are close to where you live or work.


To find a doctor or schedule an appointment, visit Steward DoctorFinder™.