What is the Difference Between a Primary Care Physician and an Internist?

Have you ever wondered whom to see for your health needs – the primary care doctor or Internist? Let’s make it clear today.

Primary care physicians are general doctors who see patients of all ages and health problems. While internists only specialize in adult health issues.

Knowing the difference is like having a compass directing you to the best doctor for your requirements.

Want to learn more details? Read further as we will break down the differences to help you pick your healthcare superhero wisely.

What is a Primary Care Physician (PCP)?

According to AAFP primary care physicians or (PCP) is the general healthcare provider you visit most often for basic health issues . A PCP or primary family doctor works in a primary care clinic. They act as pleasant guides in healthcare, focusing on keeping you healthy and detecting problems early.

A primary care doctor is the first person you see for regular check-ups, shots, and early discussions about health problems.

The Conditions PCP Treats

Primary care physicians treat mild to moderate or, in some cases, severe illness in patients. Here is a list of conditions a primary care physician can treat,

1. Common Illness and Infections

PCP can treat minor illnesses and infections, including colds, flu, sinus infections, urinary tract infections, and respiratory infections.

2. Minor Injuries

A family physician can handle minor injuries such as fractures, strains, or sprains. If a patient comes with severe damage, they refer them to specialists.

3. Women's Health Issues

PCP offers regular gynecological care involving menopause, osteoporosis, and pregnancy advice. Some primary care providers can also provide routine tests such as Pap smears and birth control.

4. Men's Health Issues

PCP addresses issues concerning men’s health, such as reproductive health, prostate health, and overall well-being.

5. Preventive Care

Primary care doctors also prioritize preventing illness through vaccines, screenings, and lifestyle guidance for overall health.

6. Geriatric Care

PCP can even deal with healthcare problems affecting older adults. They manage their health by addressing age-related issues and coordinating care for multiple chronic diseases.

7. Pediatric Care

Primary care physicians often provide pediatric care such as vaccines, growth monitoring, and treatment of common children’s ailments.

8. Chronic Disease Management

PCP plays a crucial role in the management of chronic diseases. The conditions include diabetes, hypertension, asthma, and arthritis. They assist patients in developing long-term care plans.

Who is an Internist?

A primary care internist is an internal medicine doctor who treats adult health problems, says ACP. Their primary role is to diagnose, treat, and prevent various illnesses affecting adults.

Internists often earn the title “doctor’s doctor” because they typically collaborate with other specialists to provide comprehensive care.

The Conditions Internist Treats

Internists usually treat both common and complex illnesses in adults. Here is a list of conditions an internist can treat,

1.Infectious Diseases

Internists diagnose and treat infectious disorders such as lung infections, urinary tract infections, and sexually transmitted diseases.

2.Gastrointestinal Issues

They cure digestive system ailments such as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and liver disease.

3.Rheumatologic Conditions

Internists treat autoimmune disorders such as arthritis and other ailments affecting joint and connective tissues in adults.

4.Kidney Diseases

Internists can also treat kidney disorders, including chronic renal disease and electrolyte abnormalities.

5.Endocrine Disorders

Internists treat endocrine disorders like thyroid dysfunction, adrenal diseases, and hormonal imbalances.

6.Chronic Conditions

They also treat chronic diseases affecting adults, including hypertension, diabetes, and obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

7.Hematological Diseases

Internists can treat blood disorders such as anemia, clotting problems, and blood malignancies.

8.Respiratory Conditions

Internists also specialize in diagnosing and treating respiratory disorders such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, and pneumonia.

9.Neurological Diseases

Internists can help cope with neurological disorders, including headaches, migraines, and some peripheral neuropathies.

10.Preventive Care

Internists specialize in preventive care, screening, administering vaccines, and advocating healthy lifestyle choices.

11.Physiological and Behavioural Health

Internists frequently deal with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and stress-related problems.

12.Geriatric Medicine

Internists can also provide comprehensive treatment for older patients and treat age-related illnesses.

Choosing Between a Primary Care Physician and an Internist

Internist vs primary care! Whom to choose and when? Choosing between a primary care physician and an Internist is quite difficult as they both are primary care specialists.

But here are certain factors you can take into account before choosing the right type of primary care physician for you.

  • Prioritize credentials and ensure the physician is board-certified and has relevant experience.
  • Seek referrals from trustworthy sources and evaluate the practice location, paying specific attention to insurance plans to reduce expenses.
  • Make your decision based on your health problems. If you have specific needs or chronic diseases, seek a physician who specializes in managing specific ailments.

Why Should You Choose PHNJ For Primary Care Needs?

At Prime Health of New Jersey, well-being and good health go hand in hand. We help you not only cure your symptoms and diseases but also avoid their spread and improve your quality of life. If you want to avail yourself of our cutting-edge and evidence-based care.

Schedule an Appointment

The Final Words

What is the difference between a primary care physician and an Internist? A primary care physician is a general physician who treats health problems of any age group. While internists specialize in treating health conditions affecting adults above 18.

By reading this article, you must have known the difference and whom to consider for particular health conditions. Remember, making informed choices about your health is necessary to combat the illness as early as possible. Happy reading!


Don’t miss our future updates! Get Subscribed Today!
Join Prime Health of New Jersey for exclusive updates and essential healthcare insights.

Our Team

Dr Farhan Malik
Dr. Farhan Malik Primary Care Physician
Dr Shoaib Malik
Dr. Shoaib Malik Primary Care Physician

Schedule an Appointment

with Prime Health of New Jersey today to start feeling better and living healthier.

Schedule an Appointment

Follow us

Choose your preferred appointment type?

Appointment Type Selection

Please select the type of appointment you would like to schedule:

Weight Loss Program

For those without insurance or preferring out-of-pocket payment, you’ll acknowledge responsibility for full service costs upfront. We’ll confirm your preferred appointment date and time upon submission.

Payment Options

Will you be using insurance for your visit?

Note for Insurance Patients

Select insurance provider and enter policy details. Providing insurance information allows us to verify coverage and confirm your appointment time.

Self Pay

For those without insurance or preferring out-of-pocket payment, you’ll acknowledge responsibility for full service costs upfront. We’ll confirm your preferred appointment date and time upon submission.