Patients are able to seek primary care from either a family medicine or internal medicine provider. While they are similar in scope, there are subtle differences between the two specialties.
Training: One of the main differences between family medicine and internal medicine physicians is the content of their training. Family medicine doctors learn how to diagnose and treat diseases of both children and adults, and they also receive obstetrical training. Internal medicine doctors study to treat adults, without any obstetrical training.
Focus: Family medicine and internal medicine doctors differ in their focus. Family doctors tend to be generalists, since they treat adults and children. Internal medicine doctors tend to specialize--not only in adult medicine, but also in one of 13 subspecialties of internal medicine, like cardiology or gastroenterology.
Patients Seen: Family medicine doctors treat all ages of patients, from babies and young children to adults and geriatric patients. Internists treat only adults.