Choosing a Physician: What Is a DO?

Sometimes the alphabet soup behind a physician’s name can be confusing. What does an MD indicate compared to a DO behind the name of your doctor? The training for MDs and DOs is similar but osteopathic physicians also receive training in osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM).

Physicians with both degrees care for patients, prescribe medication and practice throughout the country. Below are other similarities and differences between an MD and DO:

  • Both MDs and DOs undergo similar education, training, residency and licensing requirements.
  • One difference is that an osteopathic philosophy of medicine includes a more holistic approach that focuses on physical and emotional wellness, education and prevention.
  • A DO utilizes osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM), a hands-on approach that includes light pressure, stretching or more targeted force that can improve body function like alignment or balance and self-healing capabilities.

Bottom line? Choosing a healthcare provider is a personal choice that should rely on a patient’s comfort level with a physician’s personality, communication style, approach to treatment and schedule accessibility.

“At Memorial Health, our physicians (MDs and DOs) have similar training, follow the latest advances in disease prevention and treatment and provide exceptional care for the communities we serve,” said Raj Govindaiah, chief physician executive for Memorial Health. “Our patients should choose a doctor based on their needs and preferences and can always feel confident that a Memorial Heath physician has the required training and expertise to provide outstanding care.”

Need a healthcare provider?

To find a list of our MDs and DOs, visit Find a Doctor on the Memorial Health website.