Family Medicine

Patient Care

Patient Care

To Live Well In Good Health

Penn's physicians, nurses and staff want for their patients what all patients want for themselves — to live well in good health. In Philadelphia and throughout the world, Penn Medicine embraces the responsibility of improving the lives and communities that need care the most. Penn cares for those in the community because there is a need, a responsibility, and a shared humanity.

Family practice is a three–dimensional specialty, incorporating the dimensions of:

  • Knowledge
  • Skill
  • Process

While knowledge and skill may be shared with other specialties, the family practice process is unique. At the center of this process is the patient–physician relationship wherein the patient is viewed in the context of the family. It is the extent to which this relationship is valued, developed, nurtured, and maintained that distinguishes family practice from all other specialties.

The family physician is the physician of first contact in most situations and, as the initial provider, is in a unique position to form a bond with the patient. The family physician evaluates the patient's total health needs, and provides personal care within one or more fields of medicine. The family physician refers the patient when indicated to other sources of care while preserving continuity of care.

The family physician's role as a cost-effective coordinator of the patient's health services is integral to the care provided. If the patient is hospitalized, this role enables coordination of care. This role also allows the family physician to serve as the patient's advocate in dealing with third–party payors, employers, and others. Thus, in the family practice process, the patient–physician relationship is initiated, established, developed, and maintained for both sexes, for all ages, across time, and independent of problem type.