MD I know, but what is a DO?
The health care world is full of names and descriptions that most of us do not understand. For instance, what do the abbreviations behind a doctor’s name mean? Most of the abbreviations are regarding the doctor’s degree.
For instance, D.O. stands for Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. Physicians with a D.O. are licensed in all 50 states to practice medicine and surgery, as well as to prescribe medications.
“D.O.s have an emphasis on primary care,” says Dr. Kevin McCune, Vice President of Medical Management and Chief Medical Officer at Advocate Medical Group. “Fifty percent of physicians with a D.O. practice in the areas of family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, general surgery or obstetrics and gynecology; others choose to sub-specialize.”
D.O.’s are required to maintain a professional license to practice medicine through continuing medical education, training and board examination. D.O.s are trained to have a more holistic approach to medicine and follow a medical philosophy called osteopathic medicine. According to the American Osteopathic Association, doctors of osteopathic medicine regard the body as an integrated whole, rather than treating for specific symptoms only.
“Most importantly, I advise patients choosing a doctor to look for board certification,” says Dr. McCune. “Board certification demonstrates a physician’s exceptional expertise in a particular specialty and/or sub-specialty of medical practice.”
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health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care sites, also including freelance or intern writers.