There are over 120 medical specialties and subspecialties. Sometimes it is difficult to determine which one can best suit your health care needs.

Often, this confusion centers around the services of an internal medicine physician.


What's an "Internist"?

Internists are physicians specializing in internal medicine, a discipline focused on the care of adults emphasizing the use of the best medical science available in caring for patients.

General Internal Medicine

Many internists enter into practice following completion of their basic internal medicine training.  These physicians practice “general internal medicine” and are commonly referred to as “general internists.” General internists are equipped to handle the broad and comprehensive spectrum of illnesses that affect adults and are recognized as experts in the diagnosis, in treatment of chronic illness, and in health promotion and disease prevention—they are not limited to one type of medical problem or organ system. 

General internists may practice in a variety of settings. Their training uniquely qualifies them to practice primary care and follow patients over the duration of their adult lives and establish long and rewarding personal relationships with their patients. Although internists may act as primary care physicians, they are not "general practitioners," or "family physicians," whose training is not solely concentrated on adults and may include pediatrics, obstetrics, and surgery. Some general internists may focus their practice on caring for patients in the hospital setting, and may be referred to as “hospitalists;” the majority of hospitalists in the US are general internists. Still, other general internists will combine these facets of care and provide both outpatient and inpatient care for their patients.  And other general internists may practice in unique settings such as rehabilitation centers and long-term care facilities, among other clinical settings.

About Internal Medicine

Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness.

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