another dumb question...

What is the difference between internal medicine, family medicine?

Family medicine, as is obvious, specializes in the care of the whole family. Most FM docs have office based practices and see patients from birth through death. They typically train in obstetrics/gynecology and pediatrics as part of their residencies. Some, but not all provide ob/gyn care to their female patients. Many provide gyn care, but have decided not to do OB in their practice (usually due to the cost of malpractice insurance).

Internal medicine, on the other hand, does not do any training in ob/gyn or pediatrics (unless you do a combined IM/peds residency), so their practice is focused on adults. Many IM docs also have office practices. A growing market for IM docs is working as a “hospitalist” managing the care for hospitalized patients. Use to be that if you were hospitalized, your doctor (or someone else in their practice) would be responsible for your care and come in and see you in the hospital. Today, more and more doctors are giving up taking care of hospitalized patients and turn over care of those patients to the hospitalist. There are a wide variety of employment models for hospitalists, but by in large they have set schedules where they are responsible for rounding on and taking call for hospitalized patients.