Family Medicine


Family medicine, formerly family practice, is a specialty devoted to comprehensive health care for people of all ages; the specialist is named a family physician or family doctor.

Life of a family medicine resident: St. John's by UMN Health


In Europe the discipline is often referred to as general practice and a practitioner as a General Practice Doctor or GP; this name emphasises the holistic nature of this speciality, as well as its roots in the family.

General practice is the name given in the United Kingdom to the service provided by General practitioners.

The Specialty of Family Medicine by American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP)


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; family physicians are often primary care physicians.

A primary care physician is a physician who provides both the first contact for a person with an undiagnosed health concern as well as continuing care of varied medical conditions, not limited by cause, organ system, or diagnosis.

A disease is a particular abnormal condition, a disorder of a structure or function, that affects part or all of an organism.


It is based on knowledge of the patient in the context of the family and the community, emphasizing disease prevention and health promotion.

Health promotion is "the process of enabling people to increase control over their health and its determinants, and thereby improve their health", according to the World Health Organization's 2005 Bangkok Charter for Health Promotion in a Globalized World.

Preventive healthcare consists of measures taken for disease prevention, as opposed to disease treatment.


According to the World Organization of Family Doctors, 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.

The World Organization of Family Doctors is a global not-for-profit professional organization representing family physicians and general practitioners from all regions of the world.


The issues of values underlying this practice are usually known as primary care ethics.

Primary care ethics is the study of the everyday decisions that primary care clinicians make, such as: how long to spend with a particular patient, how to reconcile their own values and those of their patients, when and where to refer or investigate, how to respect confidentiality when dealing with patients, relatives and third parties.

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