Family Doctor Practice vs. General Practice

Family practices are more family-oriented; a general practice welcomes all patients.
Family practices are more family-oriented; a general practice welcomes all patients. (Image: relaxed doctor image by Keith Frith from

Family practice and general practice are significant branches of the medical profession. These practices both exist to provide primary medical care to patients, but there are great differences between the two.

Family Practice

A family practice provides medical care to the entire family. Putting more emphasis on the family unit, a family practice physician (FP) provides more integrated care to all patients within a family.

General Practice

A general practitioner (GP) provides primary care to his patients. GPS practice worldwide and generally work in larger organizations, caring for a wider variety of patients.


A general practitioner's training allows her to diagnose a patient’s condition, but she will often refer the patient to a specialist for further tests and diagnosis. A family practice doctor, on the other hand, diagnoses and provides treatment to a patient regardless of the patient’s medical problem. Some GPS and FPs can conduct minor surgeries within their practices.

Doctor-Patient Relationships

Because family practices are more family-oriented, offering ongoing care to patients from a young age, family doctors are very familiar with their patients’ family medical history. This may mean that they are more intuitive when it comes to providing treatment. A general practitioner with often only be familiar with his patients’ medical history due to the type of care provided.


In order to practice as a FP, a doctor must complete a three-year medical residency. This will lead to board certification, which doctors must possess to work in United States hospitals. A GP doctor must undergo a one-year internship to obtain her license.

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