Most people look for a primary care physician for the regular check up needs and care for their families and themselves. As a result, it is a good idea understand the differences in what different doctors do. There are a number of ways that a doctor can be categorized. There are some doctors who specialize in portions of the human anatomy, a specific illness, or targeted patient population. Doctors who treat all routine medical needs and a person as a whole is known as a generalist. An internist falls into the generalist category of doctors also commonly called primary care physicians. They have the most varied duties and skills of all physicians.
Doctors of Internal Medicine
Doctors of internal medicine are also called internists. Some examples of what an internist does are:
- An internist focuses on the treatment and study of ailments that occur inside the body. This can include major organ systems, internal systems, the digestive tract, and glands systems. An internist typically cares for adults.
- An internist has a large scope of understanding regarding the way the human body functions. The main role of a general internist is the coordination of a patient’s healthcare that can involve referring a patient to another doctor for any specialized care.
- A doctor of internal medicine is able to use their vast knowledge to diagnose effectively. Other doctors who specialize in a specific field may miss diagnose something that is outside their regular scope of practice. Thus, when it comes to treatment, an internist typically is responsible for a patient’s overall care.
Hospitals and Doctors of Internal Medicine
An internist in a hospital is often called a hospitalist. Within a hospital, an internist will treat and monitor patients who are in need of care for a wide variety of reasons, assess their situation, and then follow up with their diagnosis and any treatment they may require. A hospitalist serves to refer a patient to a specialist if necessary or to any intensive care or critical care units if deemed appropriate.
The amount of money that doctors varies. According to a study in 2011, an internist made about $188,000 to $236,000 annually on average. Hospitalists made about $190,000 to $236,000 on average per year.