The Types of Primary Care Physicians: How to Pick What’s Best For You

There are more than 120 different specialties and subspecialties that doctors can choose to focus on for their medical practice. There is one group within these specialties that are considered primary care. 

This means that they are your first contact when your family needs preventative care or treatment. How do you know which primary doctor is right for you, though? 

We are going to help you get started by explaining the types of primary care physicians available to you.  


These are doctors that specialize in providing medical care to children under the age of 18. Though some patients stick with their pediatrician into their 20s. 

Family Medicine 

These doctors care for the whole family, mom, dad, baby, and children. This is the person your family has on call when someone gets sick or injured. They will know your family history and can provide the best comprehensive care. 

Their skills range in a broad area of topics, including preventative health, chronic disease diagnosis and management, skincare, and sports medicine.

Internal Medicine 

These doctors focus on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases in adults. You might hear these doctors referred to as an internist since they specialize in internal medicine. 

Many people find that these doctors are well equipped to treat patients with multiple chronic diseases. This is why many older adults tend to choose an internal medicine doctor for their primary. 


Another option for older adults is a geriatrician. These doctors specialize in the unique medical needs of those over the age of 65. Their treatment typically includes primary care, medication management, and the physical and mental assessments related to falls, memory issues, and aging.

Internal Medicine-Pediatrics 

Some doctors choose to be two types of doctors in one. They will be board certified in both internal medicine and pediatrics. You might hear them called med-peds (pronounce MED-peeds). 

These doctors can perform the functions and duties of both a pediatrician and an internist. 


While all of the other doctors on this list treat the whole body, an OB-GYN focuses on one part, women’s reproductive health. These doctors are the go-to people for obstetrics and gynecology. This is a fancy way of saying they provide medical care during pregnancy and birthing. 

Functional Medicine 

Unlike the other doctors on this list, many people aren’t as familiar with doctors who provide functional medical care. A functional medicine doctor focuses on both your medical history and your current lifestyle. 

This way, you not only treat your medical issues, but you also work to prevent possible future medical problems by making the right lifestyle choices today.  

Know the Types of Primary Care Physicians

While it is helpful to know the different types of primary care physicians, it is more important that you pick one. You could pick any one of these to be your primary care doctors, just be sure to stick with them. 

This person will be your primary point of contact and can help you with preventative care and refer you to specialists. 

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