Who are the primary care clinicians?
All PCPs are not alike. Health care professionals with different education backgrounds can provide primary care. You might see an internist, while your kids see a pediatrician. Or every one of your family members could see the same family medicine doctor or advanced practice clinician. Whatever type of PCP you choose, if it's right for you, it's the right choice.
There are five kinds of primary care doctors available at LVHN:
Family medicine doctor
Family medicine physicians see people of every age – from infants to seniors. They are educated and board-certified in their knowledge of the body and mind at all ages. They manage a broad array of topics including: preventive health for infants, children, adults, and seniors, chronic disease diagnosis and management, dermatologic (skin) care, sports medicine and office procedures such as skin biopsy and joint injection.
Internal medicine doctor
Also called internists, they care for people age 16 and up. Internal medicine doctors are educated and board-certified in the understanding of the internal organs of the adult body. Like family medicine doctors, internists provide a wide range of care, including disease prevention, chronic disease management, and the care of acute medical conditions. They have expertise in the management of patients with multiple chronic medical illnesses.
Obstetrician and Gynecologist (OB-GYN)
OB-GYNs provide important gynecologic care for women from menstruation through menopause. They consider your total health when recommending tests and exams for each stage of life.
Geriatricians have special education in geriatric medicine to address the unique care needs of adults over age 65. They offer:
- Primary care
- Medication management
- Physical and mental assessments related to falls, memory issues and other aspects of aging
Children need to see their doctor more often than adults. They have unique needs because their bodies are rapidly developing and changing. Pediatricians are specially educated to provide care from infancy through age 21. If your child needs special care, our pediatricians work closely with pediatric specialists so your child can receive the specific care they need.
What is the difference between an MD and a DO?
Once you’ve settled on what type of PCP you want to see, you may have questions about whether the designation MD or DO matters.
These two branches of medicine started out completely separate but have grown more alike over the years. Both types of physicians:
- Spend the same number of years training
- Must pass a licensing exam
- Are licensed to provide all kinds of medical care, including surgery
To tell them apart you need to look at their training and patient care philosophies.
MD stands for Medical Doctor
Medical doctors trained at a medical school. They are trained to understand the body and to provide appropriate disease treatment. The majority of practicing physicians in this country are MDs.
DO stands for Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
Osteopathic medicine was founded in 1874 based on a "whole person" approach that emphasizes prevention and wellness as well as appropriate disease management. DOs are also called osteopaths. Because of the "whole person" approach, it makes sense that about two-thirds of osteopaths choose to become primary care doctors.
Advanced practice clinicians in primary care
Some of the clinicians at LVHN are neither DOs or MDs. Instead, they are called advanced practice clinicians (APCs). APCs are key members of the care team. Like doctors, they need extra training and education to provide primary care to patients. Because they are directly supervised by an attending physician, they can serve as your primary care provider and can write prescriptions. At LVHN, our certified APCs include:
- Physician assistants (PA-C)
- Certified registered nurse practitioners (CRNP)
- Certified nurse-midwives (CNM)