What Is Family Medicine

Family medicine also referred to as FM is a medical branch that is aimed at the health care of people comprehensively at all ages. FM is a division of primary health care that provides continued and comprehensive health care for individuals and families cutting across all sexes, ages, diseases and involving all parts of the body. FM seeks to put more emphasis on disease prevention and health promotion with its knowledge of the patient based in the family and community context. Family medicine according to the global organization for family doctors is to give personal continuing health care to individuals comprehensively in a broad perspective. This branch of medicine is referred to as general practice in some countries since its approach is more holistic and it seeks to establish its roots in the family.

In the US family physicians hold either an M.D or D.O degree, they must specialize in family medicine in a three year accredited family medicine residency in the US apart from the ordinary medical degree. They are then required o sit the board certification examination which is a requirement in the country. The American board of family medicine demands that its members maintain certification though an ongoing process involving medical knowledge reviews patient care and medical education.

This term family medicine is common in many Western and Asian countries, where it has replaced general practice. In some countries such as Sweden doctors who practice family medicine are required to undergo five years of training under a tutor once they have acquired their medical degree. In India those who wish to specialize in the family medicine must complete a 3 year residency after their medical degree known as MBBS. Once they complete the residency they are then awarded an MD or DNB in family medicine, other countries have a variety of requirements for those who practice family medicine.

Family doctors are charged with the responsibility of offering a wide range of services in the medical field, this range from preventative, remedial as well as acute and chronic medical services. They are able to diagnose, conduct risk assessment screening and immunizations among other services. They can also offer counseling on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and can manage chronic illness while coordinating with other healthcare providers. These health care providers are some of the doctors who provide very vital services that the general populace requires, it’s estimated that about 1 out of four office visits to the doctors are made to the family physicians.

Since the Second World War several events emerged to shape family medicine, one was the medical knowledge which advanced having adverse effect on the number of physicians engaged in general practices. With time the health practitioners known as general practice or GP started being viewed as inadequate to prepare the physicians in the emerging fields of medical practice. This led to most of the GPs deciding to acquire more training and knowledge in order to keep up with the medical advancement in medicine with board certification. This gave rise to a branch known as family medicine which was formally recognized in 1969 in the United States.

 

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