Family Practice vs. Internist: which is best for me?
January 4, 2007 2:42 PM Subscribe
I have just changed health plans, and need to find a new doctor for me & my pre-schooler.
There is a family practice very close (5 minute walk), and this is an advantage as we have no car during the day. (My husband needs it for work.) Family practice seems fine for my son, as he's generally healthy and just needs checkups, immunizations, and general sort of normal kid things. What are the advantages of/differences between a pediatrician and a family doc?
I, however, have many chronic illnesses (PCOS, diabetes, hypothyroidism (and depression which may or may not be related), asthma, famililal hypertriglyceridemia, carpal tunnel) and because of that I have had an internist as my PCP since these conditions began to develop.
My question is: do I really need an internist? Will I be okay with a family doctor, provided that I also see the applicable specialists such as an endocrinologist or an allergist? Or are family doctors basically just for generally healthy people who have occasional minor illnesses/injuries? Do I even need a PCP, or would it just save time to get myself an assortment of specialists? The internists always sent me to specialists anyway, so is there a real difference? Will a family practice doc see multiple family members at the same time, for instance-- if the kid needs a checkup and I need to talk about continuing the scrips given to me by my Kaiser docs?
Also: I am basically just picking this practice based on location, because I can't really access any information that's very useful to me. The plan website tells me when and where each doctor went to med school... but, so? I know how to look up disciplinary actions from the state medical board, and none of the doctors in this practice have any. Previously, I've not had a lot of choice in doctors, being on either MedicAid or Kaiser, so what are signs that I should find someone else? What are signs that I've got a good doctor I should keep?