A Look at Family Medicine: Its History and Its Importance

a young family speaking with a family medicine doctor
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Family medicine has humble beginnings in the early days of the United States. In the 1800s, the U.S population was still largely rural and doctors usually visited people on horse and buggy. Things have certainly changed since then! Yet the fundamental principles of practicing good medicine still remain the same and have certainly improved as our medical knowledge, understanding, and technology has improved. 

Many Americans today lack the necessary healthcare and continue using the ER as a primary care alternative. This, of course, is not ideal. The ER is made for emergencies that happen and require immediate attention. 

When it comes to overall health, having a family practitioner who knows you and your family members is extremely valuable. Oftentimes, people will feel discomfort or an ailment and visit a doctor, then they won’t visit that doctor again. Perhaps they change insurance carriers or move to a different side of town. They will then visit another doctor for another ailment. 

Maintaining a relationship with a family doctor can be quite beneficial, although we know that it is not always feasible or possible. After all, families today are quite mobile and often move around. We thought we’d take a look at some of the advantages of having a family doctor who is able to care for patients of all ages. 

A Brief History of Family Medicine 

When America was still largely rural, physicians would visit patients at their house. At the same time, there was a lot of medical quackery happening, as many doctors claimed healing powers and miracle work. This was because there were no regulations and no standards for medicine. Not long after, the need to establish formal medical education has deemed a priority. The objective of establishing education was to purify the profession from this quackery and establish a medical education that is based on natural science and the consensus of medical advancements of the time.

As medical institutions began to develop, the emphasis on science only increased. Premedical requirements were established with a strong basis in science and medical schools became attached to universities. This meant that the typical house doctor that had largely little accreditation of credentials would slowly fade out, especially as America became a more urban environment. After World War II, the U.S felt it was a few steps behind Europe in terms of medical advancements. There was a big push towards scientific and technological advancements in medicine. Medical education and practice continued to change and many have forgotten how important the family doctor is to a community and a society. 

Benefits of the Family Doctor 

A Family Doctor Will Get to Know You 

In the early days of medicine in this country, a doctor would visit patients at their homes. While we still have elements of home health today, things are a little bit different. Yet, a visiting doctor would get to know the whole family and typically treat people over a long period of time. This meant that a doctor would get to know his patients in long term form. Having a family doctor will mean that you have a physician that is able to track your health over some period of time. If a doctor sees you for two years in a row, for example, they are more likely to see patterns in your health, foresee certain problems, and even help prevent certain conditions based on your history. Your medical history is a window into your medical present and any possible ailments or developing conditions.

They Know Your History 

When a doctor treats you for a longer period of time, he or she will get to know your medical history. This not only helps in familiarity with your conditions past and present but assists in them making accurate diagnoses, foresee issues with certain medications, and monitor slight changes in health that might indicate a bigger problem later.

A Family Doctor Has a Wide Breadth of Knowledge

Clinics and physicians that practice family medicine can treat more conditions than you might imagine. Here at CNA Adult Primary Care, for example, we have a broad range of services we can offer. These can include general family medicine, hormone therapy, weight loss, diabetes management, internal medicine, immunizations, wound care management, and more. A doctor that is trained in family medicine is trained to identify a variety of conditions and to help people improve their overall health and wellbeing. 

They Can Help Find the Right Specialist

If it comes to the point where you require the attention of a specialist, your primary care doctor will be able to recommend someone that will fit your needs. This is if you need to see a specialist for something like heart disease, cancer, or any other more serious concern, the family doctor will be able to utilize their knowledge to recommend the best fit. 

Family Doctors Improve Health and Wellbeing

Your local family doctor will not only get to know you but they will also help you to find a plan for a better lifestyle or improved well-being. Whether this is losing weight or implementing some kind of exercise regimen, a family doctor is also there to improve health not just fix a potential problem. 

Get Great Care at CNA Adult Primary Care & Pediatrics 

Dr. Carol N. Abalihi is there to serve you and your family. Whether you are looking for a family doctor or need some help with a specific ailment. We are here to help and provide outstanding service. Call us today and let us help you live better!

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