UR Medicine / Primary Care / Patient Education / FAQs FAQs Why Have a Doctor? Even if your medical insurance provider doesn't require it, when you establish a relationship with a primary care doctor you are taking an important step in being responsible for your own well being. There are several important reasons you should have a primary care doctor: Your primary care doctor specializes in comprehensive patient care, taking care of your overall health, while specialists take care of more specific problems. By seeing you regularly, a primary care doctor can catch problems before they become serious. Your primary care doctor is the best person to help you learn about your health, how to treat diseases and illnesses, tell you about preventive care including screening tests that are right for your age and risk factors. Your primary care doctor can help you find the right specialists. By having a primary care doctor before you get sick, you'll be able to get the help you need right when you need it. Types of Primary Care Doctors in Our Network There are several types of primary care doctors you can choose from: Family Medicine doctors typically treat patients of all ages, from newborns to the elderly, so one doctor can treat your whole family. Some Family Medicine doctors have training in obstetrics. Our Family Medicine doctors are board certified by the American Board of Family Practice. Internal Medicine doctors treat adult patients, usually ages 18 and up. Our Internal Medicine doctors are board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Internal Medicine/Pediatricians (Med-Peds) doctors have a combined training in the practice of both Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. They care for people of all ages from newborns to the elderly and can treat your whole family. Our Med/Peds doctors are board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and the American Board of Internal Medicine. What's the Difference Between a DO and an MD? You can also choose to have either an MD, or a DO-Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. Both are medical doctors. DO stands for Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, while MD stands for Doctor of Medicine. While most people are familiar with the meaning of MD, fewer people know what it means to be a DO. Both DOs and MDs attend four years of medical school and take comparable state licensing exams. Osteopathic doctors, however, have additional training in the musculoskeletal system and focus more on the whole person, as well as on preventive care. Some DOs also use osteopathic manipulative treatment, or OMT. This is a technique in which the doctor uses his or her hands to help diagnose the injury or illness. Manipulations may then be used to improve circulation and nervous system functioning, to help the body heal itself. Since both MDs and DOs have extensive training and rigorous certification, you can feel confident in relying on either kind of doctor to give you state-of-the-art care. What is a Hospitalist? A hospitalist is a physician who manages your care in the hospital. Usually trained in internal medicine, a hospitalist has the skills and expertise needed to provide care specifically tailored to meet the unique needs of hospitalized patients and their families. Because a hospitalist has a special focus on patients in the hospital, he or she is more accessible to manage your inpatient care. A hospitalist can help by following up on tests and adjusting your treatment throughout the day as necessary. The hospitalist is also close by in case of an emergency and is available to spend more time talking in person with you and your family about your care. The hospitalist works collaboratively with your primary care doctor and will keep them updated on your hospital stay. After discharge, you will be referred back to your primary care doctor for follow up care. How do I Choose a Doctor? You can start the process of finding a doctor by asking a friend, family member or neighbor for a recommendation. Word of mouth from people you trust can be a great tool. You can call the URMC referral line at (585) 784-8891 for a listing of doctors who are accepting new patients. They can help you find a physician that offers a specific specialty, like Family Medicine or Internal Medicine, or a practice located near you.