Primary care physicians establish long-term relationships with their patients – diagnosing illnesses, and prescribing and administering treatment. They provide counseling related to patients’ overall healthcare needs with a practice emphasis on preventive medicine and routine medical care. When needed, primary care physicians refer their patients to a specialist for specific needs. There are three types of primary care providers, and every medical specialist works closely with their patient’s primary care provider.

Family Medicine physicians are primary care providers who care for patients of all ages, from the very young to the very old. Pediatricians are primary care providers who specialize in caring for infants and children. Generally speaking, when an individual turns 18 years of age, the pediatrician refers them to another provider. Internal Medicine physicians are primary care providers who specialize in adult medicine, caring for individuals 18 years of age and older.

There are two types of physicians: M.D. or Medical Doctor and D.O. or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. There are many subtle differences, but the main difference is Osteopathic Medicine places special emphasis on the body’s musculoskeletal system, preventive medicine and holistic care. Both M.D.s and D.O.s can choose to be primary care providers in family medicine, pediatrics or general internal medicine.


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