What is Internal Medicine?--a question I am asked frequently. Internal medicine doctors, or "Internists",
three to seven years after medical school in residency and fellowship training to take care of adults. We help our patients stay well. We focus on preventing, diagnosing, and treating the health problems of adults. Because we care for the entire patient we are often consulted by other physicians to assist with diagnosis or treatment of an illness or to manage chronic problems while the patient is undergoing surgery or other procedures.
Internists are primary care physicians but are sometimes confused with "family practitioners" or "family medicine doctors". Internists spend all of their 3 years post-graduate training learning to take care of adults. Family medicine doctors' 3-year training also includes pediatrics and sometime obstetrics. And we are not interns, who are in their first year of training after medical school.
Some Internists spend additional time specializing in a single area of internal medicine, such as cardiology, oncology, hematology, or endocrinology, to name just a few.
As a primary care physician, your internist should be the doctor you count on to help you coordinate your medical care, refer you to other specialists if necessary, and stay well.