Internal medicine refers to the medical field that specializes in treating adults (Pediatrics, in contrast, specializes in treating children). Medical doctors who are board-certified in the field of internal medicine are known as internists.
Internal medicine is a broad specialty, and internists may offer a wide array of medical services and treatments. Because the specialty is so broad, many internists focus on a subspecialty, such as:
Every adult should see an internist periodically. Adults should go for wellness exams, which are one of the most important forms of preventative care, periodically. Often, an internist is also the first doctor to call when an illness strikes. They frequently fulfill the role of primary care physician.
When searching for an internist to see, patients should first look for a licensed physician who is board-certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and a member of the American College of Physicians. Board certification by the American Board of Internal Medicine shows that a provider has passed a rigorous exam in internal medicine, and membership in the American College of Physicians demonstrates that a doctor is respected by their peers.
Second, patients often prefer to see a physician who has a conveniently located practice. Going to a doctor who practices nearby makes getting to both wellness exams and sick appointments easier.
Finally, patients ought to seek out someone who accepts their health insurance. While health insurance companies don’t prohibit patients from seeing any provider they like, getting care from an in-network provider is often much more affordable than going to a doctor who is outside an insurer’s network. In some cases, the cost difference can be hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars.
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