Pop Quiz – Is your physician a M.D., or a D.O.? Should it matter to you?
Many people don’t realize that in the United States there are two groups of physicians fully licensed to prescribe medicine and to practice in all specialty areas, including surgery.
In many respects, there is little difference between the two. Both types must graduate from an accredited medical school. Before they can start their careers, newly minted M.D.s and D.Os receive additional, on-the-job graduate medical training through internships and residencies, which typically last three to six years.
But it is the type of training they receive that sets them apart. M.D.s, or medical doctors, learn to treat specific symptoms or illnesses, whereas D.O.s, or doctors of osteopathic medicine, practice a “whole person” approach to medicine with an emphasis on preventive health care. They are trained to consider the health of the whole person and use their hands to help diagnose and treat their patients.
According to the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), “D.O.s receive extra training in the musculoskeletal system – the body’s interconnected system of nerves, muscles and bones, providing them with an in-depth understanding of the ways that illness or injury in one part of the body can affect another. With this knowledge, D.O.s incorporate osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) into their patient care, using their hands to diagnose illness and injury and to encourage the body’s natural tendency toward good health.”
I bring this up because National Osteopathic Medicine (NOM) Week begins today. NOM Week brings supporters of the osteopathic medical profession together to focus on one common goal – increasing awareness of osteopathic medicine and osteopathic physicians (D.O.s) in communities across the country.
If you’re in the process of selecting a new primary care physician, the AOA lists several questions to ask yourself before considering an osteopathic physician. Another great resource for Northwest Baltimore residents in selecting a doctor is the Physician Directory of Md.MD For Life magazine, which you can see here.
What do you think? What factors do you consider when selecting a doctor? What is more important – reputation or experience and training?
To schedule an appointment with one of our highly trained physicians and find out why LifeBridge Health is Baltimore's premiere health care organization, call 410-601-WELL.