The main difference between the two types of physicians is that D.O.s have been specially trained to perform osteopthic manipulations on patients. They view the patient as a "total person" and focus on preventative care. They view the whole body rather than treat specific symptoms or illness. D.O.s use Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT) in their practice. This involves the use of their hands to diagnose injury and illness and to encourage your body's natural ability to heal. Osteopathic medicine is a fast-growing segment of the United States healthcare field.
The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) states that: "Because of this whole-person approach to medicine, approximately 60 percent of all D.O.s choose to practice in the primary care disciplines of family practice, general internal medicine and pediatrics. Approximately 40 percent of all D.O.s go on to specialize in a wide range of practice areas. If the medical specialty exists, you will find D.O.s there.
"While America's 47,000 D.O.s account for only 5 percent of the country's physicians, they handle approximately 10 percent of all primary care visits. D.O.s also have a strong history of serving rural and underserved areas, often providing their unique brand of compassionate, patient-centered care to some of the most economically disadvantaged members of society."
M.D. vs. D.O. Schools and Associations
There are 20 schools of osteopathic medicine in the U.S., 126 accredited U.S. M.D.-granting medical schools , and 16 accredited Canadian M.D.-granting schools. Visit American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) for more information on D.O. schools and the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) for M.D. school information.