With a range of patient care skills from pediatrics to geriatrics, family physicians are on the front line of primary care and are often the first point of contact for patients seeking medical treatment. Family doctors treat members of the entire family, from newborn babies and teenagers to expectant mothers and elderly patients. As primary care providers, they also play an increasingly important role in the delivery of health care in rural areas.
By definition, family practice is the medical specialty concerned with the total health care of the individual and the family. Family Medicine integrates the biological, clinical and behavioral sciences and is not limited by the patient’s age or sex, organ system, or disease entity.
Family practice doctors take medical histories, perform physical exams, and order diagnostic tests. They also spend part of their time reviewing labs, x-rays and other tests to make a diagnosis and come up with a treatment plan.