Family doctors are primary care providers who offer comprehensive medical care for people of all ages, often providing care for members of an entire family. As a family doctor, these physicians generally develop close relationships with patients over an extended period of time, allowing for personalized care. The American Board of Family Medicine offers board certification for family physicians who “voluntarily meet additional standards beyond basic licensing” [source].
Family physicians are tasked with caring for not only the physical health of patients and families, but also the mental and emotional health and how it relates to the family dynamic as a unit. Family medicine also emphasizes preventive care, which helps keep patients, and works to prevent diseases before they occur through regular exercise, a healthy diet and healthy life choices.
With regard to preventive measures, family doctors perform regular examinations or checkups, immunizations, and other pertinent screening tests, based upon the specific patient’s health. Family physicians are trained to identify and treat a very wide range of illnesses and injuries, but may also refer patients to a specialist when they deem it necessary. That said, family doctors may also treat and manage chronic conditions without the assistance of a specialist.