Family medicine is an independent academic discipline and specialty of medical science. Family medicine developed as a counterculture in response to rapid fragmentation of medical care into specialty and sub specialty care in the much of the developed world during post second world war period. The concept evolved as a concept of medical care to cater to the growing demand of the people for personalized, continued and comprehensive care.
Family medicine (FM) is a medical speciality devoted to comprehensive health care for people of all ages and provides continuing and comprehensive health care for the individual and family across all ages, genders, disease and parts of the body. It is based on knowledge of the patient in the context of the family and the community, emphasizing disease prevention and health promotion.
While family medicine evolved since 1950s and 1960s in USA and UK to its present form today, it gaining rapid momentum in the middle east, Africa, Latin America and South Asia during recent decades. In India there is a growing recognition and value for family medicine. It has been realized that competent primary care physicians form the back bone of health care delivery system and could play a vital role in fulfilling the human resource requirement of National Rural Health Mission NRHM -(gradually evolving into the National Health Mission - NHM ).
Definition of Family Medicine Speciality:
Family medicine is the academic discipline that both serves and leads the specialty of family practice. It organizes curiosity, systematizes observation, advances understanding, communicates knowledge, and challenges convention. The form of family practice follows the function of family physicians.
Definition of Family Practice
Family practice is the professional discipline that trains and sustains the doctors who practice the evolving arts and sciences of family medicine. Family practice is patient centered, evidence based, family focused, and problem oriented. It shares historical roots and a worldwide movement with general practice.
European Definition of Family Doctors
Family doctors are specialist physicians trained in the principles of the discipline. They are personal doctors, primarily responsible for the provision of comprehensive and continuing care to every individual seeking medical care irrespective of age, sex and illness. They care for individuals in the context of their family, their community, and their culture, always respecting the autonomy of their patients. They recognise they will also have a professional responsibility to their community. In negotiating management plans with their patients they integrate physical, psychological, social, cultural and existential factors, utilising the knowledge and trust engendered by repeated contacts. General practitioners/family physicians exercise their professional role by promoting health, preventing disease providing cure, care, or palliation and promoting patient empowerment and self-management. This is done either directly or through the services of others according to health needs and the resources available within the community they serve, assisting patients where necessary in accessing these services. They must take the responsibility for developing and maintaining their skills, personal balance and values as a basis for effective and safe patient care. Like other medical professionals, they must take responsibility for 8 continuously monitoring, maintaining and if necessary improving clinical aspects, services and organisation, patient safety and patient satisfaction of the care they provide.