General Practice vs Family Practice: Difference and Comparison

Family doctors and general practitioners have identical schooling and eligibility requirements, and they both provide much of the same health services.

Each earns a bachelor’s degree from an approved medical college focusing on chemistry, anatomy, and physics. Nonetheless, their approach still differs in terms of specialty and level of treatment.

Key Takeaways

  1. General Practice physicians treat patients of all ages, while Family Practice doctors focus on comprehensive care for families.
  2. General Practice doctors handle various medical issues, while Family Practice physicians emphasize preventive care and chronic disease management.
  3. Family Practice doctors undergo more extensive training in pediatrics and geriatrics than General Practice physicians.

General Practice vs Family Practice

General practice is the work of a doctor that treats patients with minor or chronic illnesses, and the doctor is called a general practitioner. Family practice is the work of a doctor that provides primary healthcare services to the members of the local community. The doctors are called family practitioners.

General Practice vs Family Practice

A general practitioner (GP) does general practice by treating acute and long-term ailments and providing preventative care and health counseling to adults of all ages.

A general practitioner treats illnesses that manifest in an undifferentiated manner at an initial phase of development and may necessitate immediate care.

Family practitioners provide a wide variety of acute, recurrent, and preventative healthcare resources to members of the same family.

In contrast to identifying and treating sickness, they also provide preventative care, such as annual physicals, medical examinations, vaccination and screening tests, and tailored advice on living a healthy lifestyle.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonGeneral PracticeFamily Practice
Type of DoctorThe doctors are called general practitionersThe doctors are called family practitioners
PatientsThey treat various patients across all age groups and gendersThey treat members of one family across their whole lifetime
Treatment FocusThey focus on treating acute medical conditionsThey focus on overall wellbeing alongside prevention from further diseases
QualificationEvery doctor with a basic medical degree is a general practitionerFamily practice is a separate specialization
Other AspectsGeneral practice is not concerned with the patient’s history or other aspectsFamily practice is concerned with the members’ history and other aspects like vaccination for diseases

What is General Practice?

A general practitioner (GP) is a medical doctor who treats acute and chronic ailments as well as provides preventative care and medical counseling to patients and caregivers.

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A general practitioner treats illnesses that manifest in an undifferentiated manner at a formative stage and may necessitate immediate care.

The holistic approach of general practice tries to incorporate biological, emotional, and social variables pertinent to the treatment of each patient’s condition.

Their obligations do not restrict them to certain areas of the body, and they have unique experience in treating people with a multitude of diseases.

They are known to assess patients of all ages and genders, with varying degrees of intricacy according to the nation.

The job of a general practitioner varies widely between (and even within) nations.

In advanced nations, their role and responsibilities are sharper and more focused on the treatment of chronic health conditions, the procedure of acute non-life-threatening illnesses, the early recognition and recommendation of patients with critical diseases to specialized care, and preventive care such as education programs and immunization.

Conversely, in rural locations of developed and emerging countries, a general physician may be immersed in pre-hospital emergency departments on a regular basis, baby birth, community hospital care, and limited surgical operations.

General practitioners operate in primary care centers in certain healthcare systems, where they play an important part in the healthcare team, however, in other care practices, GPs might function as sole practitioners.

general practice

What is Family Practice?

Family practice is a primary care medical specialty that provides ongoing and thorough health care to individuals and families of all ages, genders, illnesses, and vital organs.

Family doctors provide a wide variety of acute, chronic, and preventative medical services.

They not only diagnose and treat illnesses but also deliver preventative care, such as annual physicals, diagnostic testing, vaccination and screening tests, and tailored advice on living a healthy lifestyle.

Formerly, any professional who graduated from university and served in the community could occupy this role.

However, the family nurse practitioner has grown into a unique specialty since the mid-20th century, with unique training requirements in each nation.

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The designations of the specialties reflect their holistic character and/or their familial heritage.

It is grounded on the participant’s information in the community and the neighborhood, focusing on illness health prevention and enhancement.

The titles of the specialties reflect their holistic character and/or their familial heritage. It is based on the patient’s knowledge of the family context and the community, with a focus on illness prevention and health maintenance.

The World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) defines family medicine as “providing individualized, holistic, and ongoing individualized care in the family setting and the society.”

In addition to their medical degree, practitioners majoring in family medicine must finish 3- or 4 years of family practice residency. They are then qualified to take a board certification test, which is currently needed by the majority of hospitals and health plans.

family practice

Main Differences Between General and Family Practice

  1. Doctors in the general practice field of medicine are called general practitioners meanwhile, doctors in the family practice field are called family practitioners or physicians.
  2. Doctors of General practice treat various patients on a daily basis, but doctors of family practice treat members of one family throughout their lifetime.
  3. Doctors of General practice focus on acute medical conditions only, while doctors of family practice also focus on overall well-being along with diseases.
  4. Doctors of General practice have a general medical degree, whereas doctors of family practice need to acquire a specialization in family practice.
  5. Doctors of General practice are not concerned with other aspects of a patient’s life, meanwhile, doctors of family practice are concerned with the patient’s history and other aspects like immunization.
Difference Between General Practice and Family Practice
References
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1574006400800359
  2. https://academic.oup.com/fampra/article-abstract/16/1/4/587237

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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3 thoughts on “General Practice vs Family Practice: Difference and Comparison”

  1. This article is too broad. It’s important to note that specifics can vary by country and by individual medical practice, which is not discussed in the article.

    Reply
  2. It’s important that the reader takes into consideration the role of general practice and family practice in society. As medicine advances, these roles will also change.

    Reply
  3. The information provided here might help the reader gain a better understanding of the different roles and qualifications of general practice and family practice doctors.

    Reply

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