About Family Medicine
Family physicians treat people of all ages, including pregnant people, and work within their communities to help everyone achieve health. Though family doctors represent only about 7 percent of the state’s physicians, they care for nearly a third of all Rhode Island children and more than one third of all Rhode Island adults. Family medicine is a primary health care specialty in which individuals and families are provided continuing and comprehensive health care. Here are some other things that family doctors do as well:
- Caring for patients regardless of age or health condition, sustaining an enduring and trusting relationship
- Understanding community-level factors and social determinants of health
- Serving as a patient’s first contact for health concerns
- Navigating the health care system with patients, including being their primary doctor while admitted to the hospital as well as specialist and hospital care coordination and follow-up
- Using data and technology to coordinate services and enhance care
- Considering the impact of health on a patient’s family
- Providing gender affirming care
- Performing prenatal care and deliveries at multiple hospitals in RI as well as caring for the newborns
- Office procedures like skin biopsies, incision and drainage, joint injections, birth control implants (IUD and NEXPLANON), abortion services, and osteopathic manipulative treatment.
Why Is Family Medicine So Important to Rhode Island?
Primary care is an important but neglected approach in the United States. As a result, the equity and effectiveness of our health care system is compromised.
Rhode Island’s health care system has fallen victim to these national trends. We have a hospital and specialty dominated health care system, though we are a relatively low income state, and lack the means to support the excess costs that a hospital and specialty dominated medical culture incur.