What is a general physician and why are they important?
Dr. Rizwan Tanwar
January 08, 2021
With healthcare now becoming a priority to most, even the smallest signs of sickness receive care. From an itchy throat to a mild cough or a spike in temperature, many rush to clinics to seek care from general physicians. However, if you have no prior experience with these specialists, you may wonder what is the meaning of general physician?
This is a perfectly valid question to have and it should comfort you to know that you have probably visited a general physician doctor in your lifetime. Simply put, a general physician is a primary care provider, and usually, a patient’s first medical point of contact. When you’re sick, even with the mildest symptoms, or simply need a professional opinion on wellbeing, general physician doctors are who you normally visit. To better understand these medical professionals, their importance, and their role, take a look at these pointers.
What is a general physician?
By definition, a general physician is a doctor who has specialised in general medicine and provides non-surgical care to patients. You can seek care from such professionals for almost any medical issue, common or unusual, and the doctor will be with you through the process until recovery. A general physician assesses conditions, diagnoses them, and offers preventive care solutions to patients.
There are two types of general physicians, namely, specialist physicians and general practice physicians. Specialized physicians are those who primarily focus on specific diseases, disorders, or areas of the body. General practice physicians offer generalized care and refer patients to specialists if required.
What does a general physician do?
A general physician has a long list of responsibilities, owing to the fact that he/she is the first point of contact for most patients. As such, these are a few things that general physicians do:
- Diagnose conditions and injuries
- Conduct routine check-ups
- Recommend medical tests for further diagnosis
- Assess a patient’s condition and review medical history
- Prescribe medication and treatment
- Assist in routine surgery
- Counsel patients on wellbeing and proper self-care
- Maintain patient records for optimal preventive care
What are the conditions that a general physician specialist can treat?
Usually, general physicians can treat almost all conditions. Only in more severe cases are you referred to a specialist, during which the general physician will likely be present as counsel.
These are the conditions you can address with a general physician doctor:
- Endocrinological: Conditions include pituitary disease, diabetes, and thyroid disease
- Neurological: Dementia, epilepsy, and strokes
- Respiratory: Pneumonia, asthma, lung fibrosis, and COPD
- Gastrointestinal: liver disease and gastroenteritis
- Haematological: anaemia
- Cardiovascular: hypertension and ischaemic heart disease
What is the difference between a general physician and a surgeon?
There are key differences between general physicians and surgeons, and it is important to be aware of them. Firstly, general physicians administer treatments that push the body to self-heal. However, surgeons act to correct medical conditions through surgery. General surgeons can and do operate on any part of the body, but there are some that specialise in specific areas.
Secondly, general physicians build long-term relationships with patients and offer counsel for general wellbeing and healthcare. Surgeons serve by addressing the problem through surgery, and it is a rare occurrence when surgeons will carry out the duties of a general physician.
What should you expect during a general physician home visit?
During a home visit, the general physician doctor will go through your medical history. You will be asked specific questions based on your sickness and the symptoms you’re experiencing. In some cases, the physician may also inquire about your family’s medical history. Following which, the physician will examine and observe your symptoms. Based on these, he/she may recommend medical tests for further confirmation of the diagnosis and the assessment of treatment options.
Many families turn to a single family physician doctor for their healthcare needs. Family physicians can be invaluable in treating conditions that may crop up over time as they have previous knowledge of your family’s wellbeing. Moreover, sticking with one doctor for a long period of time also helps him/her build comprehensive patient records, which can be quite useful for preventive care.
Understanding the role of the general physician doctor in your life is important and, when faced with a sickness, the general physician is first person you will likely go to. However, to ensure you find the ideal one, use the Bajaj Finserv Health App to find the most suitable practitioner for you.
This digital provision is loaded with benefits and telemedicine features that make healthcare simple, easy, and convenient. It has a smart search functionality, using which you can scout for the best general physician doctor in your locality and book appointments at his/her clinic online. You thus avoid having to make a trip to secure an appointment with the doctor. Moreover, if you’re looking for a general physician online consultation, you can use this app to get remote medical care, over video or chat. Further, you can safely store your and your family’s digital patient records and send them over to doctors electronically to get better remote care. To get started today, download the app for free from Google Play or the Apple App Store.