Family Medicine: A Family-Focused Alternative for Primary Care

What is Primary Care?

Primary care refers to medical care given by a provider (physician, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant) who is the first point of contact for patients’ non-emergent symptoms, disease management and health concerns. It also encompasses preventative types of care including cancer screening, vaccinations, health maintenance exams and patient education. Providers who offer this type of care are referred to as primary care providers or PCPs. If you do not know who your primary care provider is, it may mean that you are not receiving optimal care in these areas.

What Types of Doctors Provide Primary Care?

Primary care doctors can be family medicine physicians, pediatricians and internal medicine physicians. All of these types of doctors may also specialize in a particular area and, therefore, may not necessarily provide primary care services for patients. Additionally, female patients may be accustomed to seeing their obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) on a yearly basis for some aspects of their preventative care. However, few OB/GYN physicians are set up to cover all aspects of appropriate health maintenance and disease prevention. It is important to verify with any doctor you see regularly that you are receiving the complete care you need.

How is Family Medicine Different from Other Types of Primary Care Providers?

Family medicine differs from pediatricians and internal medicine in that they are able to provide primary care for all ages, including newborns, children and adults of all ages. When you hear the term “family physician” it simply means a doctor to whom you can bring the whole family! This can be very convenient for certain patients who have children or even older parents that also need a provider. Imagine how helpful it could be to establish a relationship with a single doctor at a single location for multiple family members.

What Additional Services can Family Medicine Doctors Provide?

The additional services each family medicine physician provides may vary slightly. In general, family medicine physicians can address musculoskeletal issues including acute injuries and chronic issues such as arthritis. They often can take care of a wide range of women’s health issues including cervical cancer screening, breast cancer screening and birth control management. Family medicine clinics are set up to manage age-appropriate vaccines and obtain any laboratory tests that are needed. And when any specialized services are needed, they are experts at referring you to specialists and coordinating your care if it involves multiple doctors or facilities.

UofL Physicians – Family Medicine and UofL Physicians – Family Medicine Associates offer a full range of primary care services including acute illness visits, annual health maintenance visits, cancer screenings, sexually transmitted infection (STI) screenings and vaccinations for both children and adults of any age.

Additionally, we have a wide range of women’s health services including appropriate annual screenings and all types of non-surgical birth control including implantable devices. Our office is also home to multiple sports medicine specialists who can offer on-site X-rays, acute injury management, chronic conditions management, physical therapy referrals and joint injections. We have new patient appointments available weekly. If you are in need of a primary care provider, give us a call at 502-588-4343.

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Article by: Ashley Iles, M.D.

Ashley Iles, M.D., graduated University of Louisville School of Medicine in 2015. Before returning to Louisville for the love of the city, she split her time in residency between Memphis, Tenn., and Birmingham, Ala. where she graduated from Cahaba Family Medicine Residency 2018. Currently, Dr. Iles is faculty and an assistant professor with the Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine, with a career focus on medical education, underserved populations and women's health. She loves to maintain a varied practice and likes to see patients of all ages. Dr. Iles is married to Matt, who is also a family medicine physician in the community.

All posts by Ashley Iles, M.D.
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