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Internal Medicine vs family practice

Difference Between Internal Medicine and Family Practice

Internal medicine and family medicine are two very different specialties, but they can overlap. Many individuals are confused by the two names and, more precisely, by the contrasts between the two specialties. While there is considerable overlap, there are numerous significant differences between internal medicine and family practice.

Internal medicine focuses solely on adult medicine, whereas family medicine often examines all family members, including children.

Internal medicine 

Internal medicine is the most popular form of primary care specialty. Internists are regarded as the “gatekeepers” of the United States healthcare system. Internal medicine is a medical specialty that studies, diagnoses, and treats disease problems that affect the internal organs. Internists are doctors who specialize in diagnosing, treating, and preventing diseases, especially severe long-term diseases and complicated chronic medical disorders in adults. Internists can treat many conditions and medical issues in most adults. Many focus on chronic or genetic diseases and frequently incorporate preventive care into their practice.

Internal medicine billing includes both general and family medicine patients. This suggests that this specialization has one of the highest weekly patient volumes in medical practice. This is because patients attend for a variety of causes, which leads to a variety of concerns. Although very few complex operations are conducted in the internal medicine office, numerous smaller procedures, prescriptions, and diagnoses requiring various codes are performed. 

Family medicine

Family medicine is a medical specialty that involves treating and caring for all family members, including children. Family practice is a medical specialty that focuses on caring for patients of all ages. Family medicine practitioners are primary care physicians who treat a wide range of diseases in patients of all ages. Family medicine professionals treat patients of all ages, from infants to the elderly. The services they provide cover four areas of medicine:

  • Adolescent medicine 
  • Adult medication
  • Pediatrics
  • Geriatrics

Remember that family practice billing is unique because the physician sees patients of all ages with various common diseases, and numerous patients in the same family unit may be billed to the same physician. In this approach, family practice billing companies can significantly simplify the billing process

 despite the increased number of customers and cases. 

Your family practice billing provider must be competent in handling the complexities of family practice billing and modifiers. Primary care physicians take patients of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds with acute or chronic physical, social, and mental health issues and manage various chronic conditions.

Internal medicine Vs. Family Medicine 

Internal and family medicine professionals are primary care physicians, but the critical distinction between them is the patient group they serve. There are other distinctions between them, including:

Family medicine is concerned with treating patients of all ages. Both children and adults

That implies that when you make an appointment with a family physician, your provider will be well-versed in ailments and difficulties affecting patients of all ages, from infants to seniors. Internal medicine is concerned with the specific needs of adult patients.

An internist (or doctor of internal medicine) only treats adults. They specifically focused on the highly distinct demands and health concerns adult patients encounter at every stage

Extensive training

Family medicine doctors get extensive training in health and medical issues that affect people of all ages. While some family doctors have extra training in subspecialties, most have training that concentrates on general outpatient care, including diagnosing and managing acute illnesses and chronic problems and preventative care. Family practice physicians diagnose and treat various conditions affecting adults, including chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and sickle cell disease; acute illnesses like stroke or heart attack; pregnancy problems like pre-eclampsia or gestational diabetes mellitus (GD).

Internal medicine professionals are educated in general medical and health issues (including preventative care) and focus on adults. During their residency training, internal medicine practitioners may choose to sub-specialize in the practice of a specific area of internal medicine. Examples include Cardiology, Endocrinology, Gastroenterology, Hematology/Oncology, Infectious Disease, Nephrology, Neurology, and Pulmonology to provide comprehensive care at all stages.

Finally, internists are more likely to provide hospital care in addition to outpatient care in their offices

That is not to say that a family doctor cannot treat patients in an inpatient setting. Still, most of their training is directed toward outpatient treatments, with inpatient requirements referred to specialists. Internists have extensive training and instruction in both inpatient and outpatient care.

Which Type of Physician Is Best for You?

Your family structure and need for accessible healthcare are two factors that can help you decide between an internist and a family medicine specialist as your PCP. Both of these experts can be great choices for your PCP, but if you want to see the same doctor for your and your family’s healthcare needs, a family medicine doctor is a better option. Of course, family medicine physicians see individuals as well, so you can choose one as your primary care physician, even if you are single and childless.

Your location may influence your decision. You may live close to an internist or see other professionals at their hospital. An internist is an option if you do not require a primary care physician who also serves children or adolescents.

Tips for Internal Medicine and Family Practice Billing 

  • A therapeutic injection can be billed using CPT code 96372; however, if given in a joint, the correct CPT code is 201610.
  • Remember your modifier 25 if you have an office visit and a procedure on the same day.
  • Consult with your coder/biller to determine when to utilize the modification, as this is one of the most severe audit risks.
  • Understand when modifiers 25 and 59 should be used. They are audit trouble spots.


I hope this article has helped you understand the difference between internal medicine and family practice. You may begin your search for the appropriate fit for your needs now that you understand the distinction between the two sorts of physicians. Choose a physician you can trust and feel at ease with. They are available to assist you in maintaining your health and well-being!

Contact us to learn more about internists and family practice billing services, or visit our website.

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