Physicians who practice internal medicine are called internists. Internists provide long term comprehensive care for adults, adolescents and the elderly and they diagnose a wide variety of illnesses that can occur in any of the body systems.
Many internists serve as primary care providers for their patients and when necessary, refer them to specialist physicians. They are usually the first doctor most people go to irrespective of the problems they are having, whether it is a problem with their skin, eyes, ears, reproductive organs or nervous system. In their role of a primary care provider, internal medicine physicians also provide their patients with wellness and disease prevention goals and management of mental health problems and substance abuse.