When someone in the family is sick, most people want to have a medical professional just walk into their room and provide them with quality patient care. A rising number of people use the term ‘DOCTOR’ lightly when talking about their medical provider. When seeing a primary care physician for general healthcare services you are more than likely receiving treatment from a Medical Doctor (MD) or Osteopathic Medicine (DO) provider. Does the latter field of medicine sound new to you?
One of the most commonly asked questions at Complete Care Medicine is what the difference between an MD and DO is. Our Gilbert Medical Center is home to family care providers who have both of those acronyms after their names: Michael Herrera DO and Kody Smith MD. To sometimes understand our amazing providers and their treatments, it is helpful to understand the difference of their medical license training and backgrounds.
An Explanation of a D.O.
- A ‘DO’ is an Osteopathic Medicine physician.
- Their approach is an integrated whole, focusing on a lifestyle and medical background. They consider the environment in which the patient lives, their diet and nutrition and the entire body system, instead of specific symptoms. This systematic check is always done before they diagnose and treat medical conditions and they emphasize prevention care.
- Schools that are accredited by the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) and students are required to take an addition 200 hours of coursework.
- DOs are licensed to practice medicine in all 50 states.
- There is an emphasis on primary care in D.O. programs so providers usually specialize in internal medicine, pediatric and family practice. They are known to get to know a patient’s family, lifestyle and concerns to better treat medical treatments.
A Discourse on M.D.
- ‘MD’ is a Medical Doctor who practices allopathic medicine, also known as ‘Western medicine’
- Doctors of Medicine make use of treatments. The focus is to affect those who are experiencing signs and symptoms primarily rather than those who are well. For instance, a person taking antibiotics cannot improve the health of someone with no bacterial infection.
- Schools that are accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education are qualified to educate Medical Doctors (MD) but many MD’s go on to specialize in a field after graduation. (ex: cardiology, neurology, surgery)
- Majority of the medical practitioners here in United States are MDs. Breaking it down into percentages, 67.4% are Medical Doctors.
Is There Really Much of a Difference Then?
- They undergo the same educational stages from bachelor’s degree to pre-med course, to passing MCAT: same number of years in academe (4 years medical school, residency program 3-7 years). Both of them need to meet same requirements to pass the state licensing boards.
- Their practice is based on scientifically proven methods (diagnosing and treating)
- They averagely earn the same when it comes to yearly salary.
- They each have their own level of academic difficulty: a set of skills, knowledge and attitude is needed in both areas.
- All the hospitals in states in America allow DO and MD providers to practice medicine within their doors.
- Both are license to write prescriptions.
To sum it up, there are minor differences between a DO and MD but yet both are highly qualified in their own field. From well child exams to emergency care, our family doctors in Gilbert treat various symptoms and provide the same quality care. Dr Herrera and Dr Smith are both board certified professionals and each have a medical area of interest they enjoy practicing so many times you may be scheduled with a particular provider due to your symptoms. Contact Complete Care Medicine today to request an appointment with one of our amazing providers. Our primary focus is on YOU as our patient!