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livelaughlove21's avatar

Family Doctor vs. Internist - Which is best for me?

Asked by livelaughlove21 (14273 points ) February 17th, 2013 from iPhone

I need to get established with a doctor I can see whenever I have an issue or just need a physical. I haven’t had a primary care doctor since I was seeing a pediatrician, and I’m now 23, so I need to change that.

We have a chain of family practices that are connected to our major hospital, but I feel like they see so many people that they couldn’t care less about individual patients. I want a doctor that knows his stuff and gives a crap about his patients.

It was recommended for me to see an internist instead. If I call an internal medicine office to establish myself with a primary care doctor, will they just tell me I need a family doctor, or do internists commonly serve as PCPs as well? I do t want to sound like an idiot when I call around tomorrow.

I’m a horrible hypochondriac and I constantly think I’m dying of cancer, so I want to pick the best kind of doctor to deal with my issues and refer me (possibly to mental health if I am deemed physically healthy) if need be. Which type of physician would be best for me?

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7 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’ve worked with LNP and General Practioners. Both have done well for me. I would say find a good group of practicioners and go from there. If you have an emergency you want more than one option.

Rarebear's avatar

Either would be fine.

Unbroken's avatar

I had to have referral to my internist who is my pcp though he doesn’t handle my girlie issues.

It is nice to have a history with a physician though. I think you should pick one you can communicate well with. No matter what the topic is.

I actually found naturopaths spend more time and get to treat you like a person instead of an item on the assembly line.

They are in my experience very practical and don’t rule out traditional medicine, many have a MD or LPN or something as well as an NP. But the laws of the state might restrict their ability to prescribe.

And most people I talk to have insurance that covers it.

JLeslie's avatar

Either are fine. Internists are PCP’s. It really is going to come down to who you click with. I think personality and rapport will matter a lot since you are a hypochondriac. You might do fine with a Nurse Practitioner or Physician’s Assistant even. Depends on your specific health issues. I hope you can find someone you feel comfortable with.

There are internists in some states that do kind of an elite service, I don’t remember what it is called, where you pay them a yearly fee, probably charged monthly actually, and they are kind of at your service, they have a much smaller clientelle, they are on top of specialists you have seen, but I doubt they take insurance. Maybe insurance covers some tests and procedures.

I once asked a Q here about PCP doctors and I was surprised how many people were happy with theirs. I really should focus on developing a relationship with one maybe.

Rarebear's avatar

@JLeslie It’s called concierge medicine. Family doctors do it too.

JLeslie's avatar

That’s it, concierge. Thanks.

augustlan's avatar

My PCP is an internist who operates pretty much the same as a family doctor. I’ve been with him for a long time, and feel very comfortable with his level of care and knowledge of my particular history.

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