Internal medicine is a wide-reaching field that handles everything from common illness to acute conditions affecting adult patients. Internal medicine and family medicine can be similar but there are differences in terms of approach and practice emphasis. Internal medicine focuses more on diagnosing a wide range of diseases that commonly affect adults, and in managing complex conditions may affect an individual. In comparison, family medicine emphasises outpatient medicine, continuity of care, maintenance, and disease prevention and treating patients of all ages.
Internal medicine specialists act as primary care physicians and are the first responding doctors for medical emergencies. They are trained in the management of chronic illnesses and to look at the whole picture to unravel intricacies of medical issues. An internist is an expert in complexity and is known as “doctors of doctors' '. This is due to their ability to analyse, and solve undifferentiated presentations of complexities that cannot be classified within the expertise of single-organ specialists.