What is Family Medicine?


front page puple 4Family medicine (FM), formerly Family Practice (FP), is a medical specialty devoted to comprehensive health care for people of all ages; the specialist is named a family physician, family doctor, or formerly family practitioner. It is a division of primary care that provides continuing and comprehensive health care for the individual and family across all ages, genders, diseases, and parts of the body.[1] It is based on knowledge of the patient in the context of the family and the community, emphasizing disease prevention and health promotion.[2] According to the World Organization of Family Doctors (Wonca), the aim of family medicine is to provide personal, comprehensive and continuing care for the individual in the context of the family and the community.[3] The issues of values underlying this practice are usually known as primary care ethics. In Europe the discipline is often referred to as general practice, emphasising its holistic nature rather as well as its roots in the family. Others refer to it as the classic GP, knowledgeable yet compassionate.

Scope of practice

Family physicians in the Malaysia may hold an M.D. / M.B.B.S. Physicians who specialize in family medicine must successfully complete an accredited four-year family medicine residency in the Malaysia in addition to their medical degree. They are then eligible to sit for a board certification examination, which is now required by most hospitals and health plans.[4] The American Board of Family Medicine requires its Diplomats to maintain certification through an on-going process of continuing medical education, medical knowledge review, patient care oversight through chart audits, practice-based learning through quality improvement projects and retaking the board certification examination every 7 to 10 years.

The term “family medicine” is used in many European and Asian countries, instead of “general medicine” or “general practice“. In Sweden, certification in family medicine requires five years working with a tutor, after the medical degree. In India, those who want to specialize in family medicine must complete a three-year family medicine residency, after their medical degree (MBBS). They are awarded either a D.N.B. or an M.D. in family medicine. Similar systems exist in other countries.

Family physicians deliver a range of acute, chronic and preventive medical care services. In addition to diagnosing and treating illness, they also provide preventive care, including routine check-ups, health-risk assessments, immunization and screening tests, and personalized counselling on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Family physicians also manage chronic illness, often coordinating care provided by other subspecialists.[7] Many Malaysian family physicians deliver babies and provide prenatal care.[8] In the Malaysia, family physicians treat more with back pain than any other physician subspecialist, and about as many as orthopedists and neurosurgeons combined.[9]

Family medicine and family physicians play a very important role in the healthcare system of a country.


 ^ “Definitions and Policies”. American Board of Family Medicine. Retrieved 30 June 2009.

^ “Definitions, What is Family Medicine?”. American Academy of Family Physicians. Retrieved 17 July 2009.

^ http://www.globalfamilydoctor.com/aboutWonca/aboutwonca.asp?refurl=aw

^ “Choosing a Primary Care Provider”, Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia. Retrieved 6-30-09.

^ “Certificates/Longevity”. AOBFP. Retrieved 25 August 2012.

^ “Principles | About CFPC | The College of Family Physicians Canada”. Cfpc.ca. Retrieved 2012-10-28.

^ “Family Medicine, Scope and Philosophical Statement”, American Academy of Family Physicians. Retrieved 7-17-09.

^ Nesbitt, Thomas S. (Jan-Feb 2002). “Obstetrics in family medicine: can it survive?”. The Journal of the American Board of Family Practice / American Board of Family Practice 15 (1): 77–9. PMID 11841145. Retrieved 18 November 2012.

^ Kinkade, Scott (15). “Evaluation and treatment of acute low back pain.”. American family physician 75 (8): 1181–8. PMID 17477101. Retrieved 18 November 2012.

^ “Facts About Family Medicine”, American Academy of Family Physicians. Retrieved 7-17-09.