The medical system framework can be quite confusing to the regular person. Many medical specialists offer a variety of treatments across the country. Understanding the fundamental roles of an internist can guide you to the right professional if you ever experience any health problems.
What is internal medicine?
Internal medicine is a branch of medicine that focuses on the scientific knowledge and clinical expertise in diagnosis, treatment and long-term care of adults. They may be suffering from a variety of health issues and complex illnesses such as diabetes, cancer, arthritis, heart disease and so on.
An internist is a medical doctor who specializes in this branch of medicines. Internal medicine physicians spend at least three of their seven years of medical school and postgraduate training to learn internal medicine. They are often referred to as ‘doctor’s doctor’. Due to their expertise in complex disease diagnosis, they are often called to act as consultants to other physicians in solving difficult health problems
Internists are entirely different from interns. Interns are doctors still in the first year of residency training.
Physicians can act as primary care physicians. However, they are not family or general practitioners. General practitioner training may include surgery, obstetrics, and pediatrics. It is not solely focused on the treatment of adult health problems like internal medicine. But some general internists handle a range of illnesses that affect adults. General internists are considered experts in diagnosis. They can diagnose and treat different medical problems affecting various organ systems.
Internists may provide care for the entire adult life through a private office and hospitalized care. Training enables them to handle severe chronic illnesses and more than one disease striking at the same time.
An Internist can choose to focus on general internal medicine or specialize in a certain area. Some subspecialties that you have probably heard of before are oncologists, cardiologists, endocrinologists and immunologists among others. The fellowship or subspecialty training includes an additional one to three years beyond the standard training for general internal medicine. This training is very intense and specialized.
ABIM refers to the American Board of Internal Medicine. ABIM is the organization responsible for setting standards for certification of all internists in the country. You should ensure that your Internal Medicine physician is ABIM certified. The board also has various requirements of the doctor to maintain certification most of which involve keeping their knowledge in their field stays updated.