Far from its literal meaning, internal medicine does not involve treating of diseases relating to internal organs of the body. Internal medicine refers to understanding the underlying basis of a signs or symptoms of an illness, using experimental methods. Beliefs regarding certain illnesses are completely ruled out, as experimental techniques are given priority. Specialists of internal medicine are referred to as internists- not interns. Previously, the duty of internists was to offer advice to general physicians. Their duties have, however, increased with time to include treating of patients. Sometimes, internists are referred to as adult pediatricians as they deal with diseases relating to adults. It is worth noting that internal medicine is based on clinical research.
THE HISTORY OF INTERNAL MEDICINE.
The term internal medicine was first used on record by Dr. William Osler. The term is of a German origin- it was derived from a German term: “innere Medizin”. Dr. William Osler went on to explain what internal medicine meant in an essay. Internal medicine gained fame and power after the establishment of the American College of Physicians (ACP). ACP provided internists with a platform to air their skills, and build a better base for internal medicine. ACP published a journal titled “Annals of Medicine”- now titled “Annals of Internal Medicine”- which addresses trending issues regarding internal medicine. Today, internal medicine has been commercialized, and medical firms incorporate the words “family and internal medicine” in their brand names.
There are three organizations, which certify trained internists. They are:
- The American Board of Internal Medicine
- American Osteopathic Board of Internal Medicine
- Board of Certification in Internal Medicine.
The field of internal medicine grows each day. A criterion for the title of an internist has been set, and therefore, internists are only certified if they are qualified. The criteria have been harmonized for uniformity purposes. Sub-specialties are now present in internal medicine, and internists can address specific clinical issues. Internal medicine is sometimes confused with family medicine. The two are, however, very different especially in their philosophy. Family medicine maintains a physician-patient relationship at a family level. It is possible, however, to incorporate internal medicine in family life. Through programs such as internal medicine family practice, internal medicine can have a massive effect in enhancing a better family life. With advancements in technology and the medical field, we can only expect more from internal medicine.