The Family Doctor: Your Partner in Keeping Your Family Well

Keeping track of doctors’ appointments for every member of your family can be a daunting task. There are well-child checkups for the kids, immunizations, an annual Pap test for Mom and Dad’s semiannual blood work. Your calendar can fill up fast!

There is an easier way to manage your family’s health-care needs. It’s called “family medicine” – an old-fashioned idea that’s gaining new interest and respect in this day of managed health care. In fact, family medicine is now considered a “medical specialty” in medical schools across the United States, including the Mercer University School of Medicine Campus at Memorial University Medical Center. At Memorial Health University Physicians – Family Medicine Center, our physicians are trained to manage the health care of all patients, from pediatrics to geriatrics.

Family medicine was once the norm in health care. The family doctor delivered babies, sutured cuts, set broken bones, treated diseases and provided general medical care for the whole family. Then as information and technology advanced, areas of subspecialty developed, allowing for greater training and expertise in those specific areas. Cardiology, nephrology, neurology and many other medical and surgical subspecialties in adult and pediatric care flourished as patients perceived a need for them.

Naturally, medical students gravitated toward these subspecialties and the numbers of family medicine physicians started to decline. But that’s changing. Health-care consumers now see the family medicine physician’s role as key to managing their family’s medical needs. Family physicians can help patients understand their options in a changing health-care environment.

Family medicine today combines the knowledge and skills of any trained physician with a process that is centered on the doctor-patient relationship. Family medical care is team-based and is delivered in a “patient-centered medical home.” Family dynamics are considered a vital part of the process, making the family medicine specialty unique.

At Memorial’s Family Medicine Center, our physicians work in conjunction with other medical and surgical specialists, such as orthopedists, gynecologists, gastroenterologists and pediatricians, to deliver the highest level of medical care to our patients and their families.

We also do a number of procedures in our office. This includes gynecological, orthopedic, dermatologic and others. As in the past, the family medicine practice is, once again, a place where patients can be comfortable receiving all of their medical care. When additional specialized help is needed, your family doctor will guide you to the right test at the right place with the right specialty physician.

Choosing a family medicine physician for your family’s health-care needs carries several benefits, including:

· All of the family’s medical needs can be managed by one physician in one location.

· Your family physician gets to know you and your family very well, which can positively influence his or her effectiveness in prescribing the right treatment.

Looking for a specialist your whole family can turn to? Your family medicine physician is just a phone call away at Memorial’s Family Medicine Center.

Regina Buckley, D.O., is a family medicine physician who is in practice at Memorial Health University Physicians – Family Medicine Center, 1107 E. 66th St., in Savannah. She can be contacted at 912-350-8404. This article first appeared in the November 16, 2011 issue if The Savannah Tribune.